Australians own the biggest houses in the world



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Australians like their property – in fact, their homes are some of the biggest in the world but new minimum land size laws look set to restrict Australia’s love affair for big homes.

New state planning laws introduced today will see the minimum legal block size reduced from 350 square meters to 250 square meters in lower-density areas of Sydney.

In a move set to encourage terrace-style developments and home affordability, some developers will even be able to offer lot sizes as small as 125 square meters in Sydney’s new growth areas.

Australians say bigger is better

But for now – Australians still rule the world in terms of house size, which may pique the attention of those contemplating home loans.

“Australian houses, measured in terms of floor space per capita, are the biggest in the world,” Chris Caton, BT Financial Group’s Chief Economist, revealed.

The average Australian house has 89 square metres of floor space, according to findings published by BT Investment Management.

In a comparison of 14 countries, Australia came out on top, followed by the United States (77 square metres), Canada (72 square metres) and Denmark (55 square metres). 

Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea followed, with the average housing floor space ranging from 43 square metres to 36 square metres.

Those living in Spain and China are feeling the squeeze – houses have 34 square metres and 33 square metres of space, respectively. While homeowners and tenants Down Under had ample room, those living in Hong Kong had an average of just 19 square metres in their homes. 

Where are Australia’s biggest houses?

However – where are Australia’s biggest houses actually located?

It appears that those in Western Australia are big fans of expansive properties. The state had the lowest proportion of medium density dwelling approvals (20 percent) compared to all approvals in the year to October 2013, according to Bankwests’ Housing Density Report, released earlier this year.

“Western Australia is the only state where the proportion of medium dwelling approvals has fallen over the past 12 months,” the report stated.

By contrast, medium density housing approvals are gaining popularity over stand-alone homes in other areas, making up 56.4 percent of total approvals in New South Wales, 67.2 percent in the Northern Territory and 68 percent in the ACT.

It could be said that areas with booming populations, such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will see demand for property in upcoming years result in a shift away from the big home dream, with more units and apartments becoming the norm. If you’re thinking about leaping into real estate ownership, be sure to use a home loan calculator – no matter the kind of property you’re buying.

A burgeoning property market

The findings from Westpac Group-owned BT Investment Management could have interesting ramifications for Australia’s property market and those taking out home loans.

For instance, while house prices are rocketing in areas like Sydney and Melbourne, spacious homes by global standards could appeal to foreign buyers.

Sydney’s dwelling prices lifted 2 percent quarter-on-quarter to July 31, marking 14.8 percent annual growth, according to the RP Data-Rismark July Hedonic Home Value Index Results. In Melbourne, quarterly growth was 1.8 percent, with year-on-year growth reaching 11 percent. 

Canberra and Darwin were the only other capital cities to experience quarterly dwelling price increases (2.1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively), but all capital cities posted annual growth.

“With interest rates remaining low and fixed rates seeing further downwards pressure, we are expecting that capital gains will continue into the foreseeable future,” Tim Lawless, RP Data Research Director, explained.

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