House sizes falling after decade-long rise

House sizes increased half a percent a year since 2001, five times the rate of apartments, according to RP Data.

The average area of a new house across Australia increased from 227.50 square metres to 241.10 square metres from 2001 to 2013.


Over the same period the average floor area for apartments and townhouses increased from 132.6 square metres to 133.9 square metres – an annual growth rate of 0.1%.

But according to data released earlier this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics the average floor area of a new home is now starting to fall.

Since 2008 the average floor area of a new house has fallen from 247.7 square metres to 241.1 square metres.

The average size of other new residential properties peaked much earlier in 2004 at 143.4 square metres and has since fallen to 133.9 square metres.

RP Data research analyst Cameron Kusher says the fall comes from escalating vacant land costs, smaller lot sizes and affordability pressures.

“The result of escalating prices and a reduction in land area is that buyers pay a lot more and in return, get significantly less land. This is highlighted by the fact that the median rate square metre of vacant land has lifted from just $86 per square metre in 2000-01 to $361.40 square metre in 2012-13 (an increase of 12.7% per annum),” Kusher says.

“As vacant land costs continue to increase, it is no wonder that the size of new houses has started to reduce. The cost of buying or building a new house is becoming restrictive. In response developers and builders are reducing lot and house sizes in order to provide houses at more affordable price points.”

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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