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The rise and rise of Australia's mega-mansions

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Australian homes are once again the biggest in the world as more and people add mud rooms, home theatres and offices, according to a report from CommSec.

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Australia last held the title in 2011 and over the past seven years, home size decreased and as more people moved into apartments and smaller-lot-sized homes as the trend to sustainability took hold. People also wanted less maintenance and more affordability.

But that has all ended.

Despite each home only holding an average of 2.5 people, home builders now regularly include four bedrooms, ensuites, walk-in robes, butler’s pantry, home theatres and alfresco dining.

“The recent experience of COVID-19 has certainly caused more families to look for bigger homes and caused others to add extra rooms to existing homes,” CommSec said.

Houses were now 27 per cent bigger than they were 30 years ago.

“There have been shifting trends in sizes and styles of homes over the past decade and COVID-19 is throwing another element into the mix. More Aussies could embrace working from home in a bigger way, opting to move away from apartments in, or near, the CBD, in preference for a larger home in a regional or suburban lifestyle area,” the report said.

The ACT has Australia’s biggest homes followed by Victoria, NSW, WA and then Queensland.

The size of the average new house in Australia is 235 square metres. When apartments and townhouses are added the average home size is 195 square metres. Houses in Queensland average 226 square metres.

CommSec’s Craig James said the government-imposed lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 virus prompted more Australians to reassess their housing needs.

“With more time spent at home for both leisure and work, some Aussies are looking for bigger homes. Others are coming to the belief that the layout of their home needs changing,” James said.

Even before COVID-19, Australian home builders were indicating their preference for slightly bigger homes. Apartment size has now lifted for the past two years. House size lifted in 2019/20 but after falling the previous year to 17-year lows.

Demand for bigger or better homes has implications for home builders, trades, building materials, homeware stores, electrical stores and housing fit-outs, including kitchen and bathroom fixtures and fittings.

“The trends in home size have enormous implications for retailers and builders. It is also clear that a raft of government agencies and businesses, especially those that are reliant upon or housing-focussed, will need to be agile in monitoring the new housing trends,”  James said.

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