The biggest trend in Australian housing

The biggest trend in Australian housing right now is for one-person households and demand is far exceeding supply.

The trend is not just in Australia, it’s happening in a lot of major cities around the world, with increasing demand for studio or one-bedroom dwellings.

Professor Peter Phibbs is a geographer, planner and social economist at the University of Sydney and he spoke to Australian Financial Review.

“It’s happening too at both ends of the spectrum,” he said.

“At the older end, a lot of older people, maybe widowed, are living alone, while there are also a lot of younger people alone.”

“But the dilemma for this fastest growing household type is the supply of suitable housing and its price.”

Supply of established one-person housing is already low and as for new dwellings, studios and one-bedroom dwellings make up about 20 per cent of new apartments built, and that figure jumps to around 65 per cent for two-bedders, dropping back down to around 15 per cent for three bedrooms.

According to Eric Klinenberg in his book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone he puts the trend down to four main factors.

The first of those is equality among the sexes with women no longer feeling like they can’t live alone without a husband or children.

Secondly the internet has made people feel less lonely, and similarly, higher density living and urbanisation is keeping people in closer proximity.

Mr Klinenberg cites people outliving their partners and the other key driver of the trend towards single room living.

Mr Phibbs told Australian Financial Review there were a lot of young and single Australians spending their money on other things than large dwellings.

“For a lot of them the only time they spend at home is sleeping time,” he said.


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