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Super-size me of a different kind!
Old 30th November 2009, 03:02 PM   #1
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Default Super-size me of a different kind!

Welcome to Victoria, home to super-sized houses
November 30, 2009

VICTORIANS are leading Australia's appetite for bigger, super-size-me homes, with a report on housing sizes identifying Australia as having the world's largest homes.

Houses and apartments in Australia are bigger than those in the United States, which has traditionally had the most spacious homes.

Part of the reason is because in darker economic times, Australians' enthusiasm for larger homes has held steady while American demand has significantly dropped. For the first time in a decade, new homes in the US are shrinking.
Lots of room to swing a cat, or perhaps even to keep an elephant in the living room — a family checks out a palatial display home in Keysborough.

Lots of room to swing a cat, or perhaps even to keep an elephant in the living room — a family checks out a palatial display home in Keysborough. Photo: Joe Armao

According to the research, gathered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and commissioned by Commsec, the average floor area of new homes in Australia hit a record 214.6 square metres in the last financial year. The average floor area of new free-standing houses was also at a record high of 245.3 square metres, up 4.4 per cent over the past five years.

While Australian home sizes have risen 10 per cent over the past decade, research shows sizes of new American homes has fallen from a peak of 212 square metres to 201.5 square metres.

In Europe, Denmark has the biggest homes followed by Greece and the Netherlands. Homes in Britain are the smallest in Europe with an average of 76 square metres.

The report, which examined dwelling sizes in new construction over the past year, found Victoria had Australia's biggest homes (224.5 square metres), followed by Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT.

Inside these big homes are more people, with figures showing the number of people in homes rose from 2.51 to 2.56.

''Younger people, no doubt spooked by the cost of housing, are staying with their parents longer,'' report author and Commsec economist Craig James said. ''Grandparents and in-laws are also sharing accommodation with other generations and many migrants coming into the country are staying with friends and relatives before they move into their own place .''

Darren Mehl, of Metricon, added: ''The trends of children staying at home longer, people opting to work from home and entertaining more frequently at home justify the growing size of our homes.''

Mr Mehl said many consumers desired multiple entertaining spaces, large outdoor living areas and spacious extras such as big butlers' pantries. Home buyers were also putting more home on the block at the expense of the traditional backyard, he said.

But it seems Australian homes may not get much bigger. The Housing Industry Association's senior economist, Ben Phillips, said recent figures showed demand for bigger houses was waning.

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