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Australians are building smaller houses and bigger apartments

22 November 2019

Australians are increasingly moving towards apartments, now nearly half of all homes being built according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Across Australia, building trends are to build small houses, but bigger units, townhouses and villas.

The data was commissioned by CommSec and shows that in 2018 the average size of a house built in the country dropped to 22.8 square metres, which is the smallest size in 17 years.

On the flipside, the average size of apartments built rose slightly to 128.8 square metres.

Population growth and demand to live nearby services and amenities are two main drivers of the trend.

In short, Aussies are giving up living space to live near public transport, schools, cafes and shops as the price of property rises.

So is the McMansion a thing of the past? CommSec economist Craig James spoke to Australian Financial Review.

“Seven years ago, Aussies were building the biggest detached houses in the world,” he said.

“But in the period since, home buyers have embraced apartments as well as smaller lot sizes.”

“There are still McMansions being built but there are fewer of them.”

Interestingly, Mark Bainey from Capio Property Group says the trend towards larger apartments was a sign developers were catering more to owner-occupiers than developers.

“During the last boom, apartments were smaller in size because developers were building for investors who were just buying an asset for rental return,” he told AFR.

“The trend towards larger apartments is happening because consumers are demanding them.”

Mr Bainey said apartments sold in 2018 were bought largely by families who chose to live closer to the city rather than in a free-standing house in a fringe suburb.

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