Australian homes are now among the biggest in the world. The United States is the only other nation which is building homes as large as ours.
Incoming president of the Australian Institute of Architects, Shannon Battisson, says the average floor space of a new freestanding home in Australia is now 229sqm.
According to CommSec research based on ABS data, the ACT has the biggest homes, at 259sqm. Victorian homes average 239sqm, New South Wales, 223sqm and Tasmania 177sqm.
The CommSec research reveals the large new homes are occupied on average by just 2.5 people, providing per person more living space than countries such as Ireland and the Netherlands.
It found the size of new houses across Australia has grown from an average of just 162sqm in 1985.
Battisson says such large homes have environmental impacts. “Even with the most efficient house, the bigger it is, the more energy it uses,” Battisson says. “There is really something to be said for designing only the amount of house you actually need. And that’s something Australians are not good at doing.”
She says there is a desperate need to stop filling our suburbs with homes designed around maximum size instead of building just enough.
Battisson has called for greater diversity in the type and size of houses and units.
Her comments come as the NSW annual architecture awards ask entrants to complete a mandatory sustainability checklist which includes factors such as floor area and occupants per square metre.