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Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today shows that the average Australian home is now bigger than anywhere else in the world.
The research, compiled for Commonwealth Securities, found the average Australian home is now 214.6 square metres. The floor area of freestanding houses has also reached a record high, just above 245 square metres, making Australian houses 10 per cent larger than a decade ago.
Commsec Chief Economist Craig James said: “We are bigger than the US for the first time. Our newly built homes are 7 per cent bigger than those in the US, double the size of those in Europe, and triple the size of those in the UK.”
By contrast, the size of the average US home fell to 202 square metres in September, dropping from 212 square metres before the global financial crisis.
James added that Australian homes now include more bedrooms, as well as extra living rooms, dining rooms and home entertainment rooms.
The report showed that the number of people living in each house had risen slightly, from 2.51 to 2.56, which James said appear[ed] to be the first increase in at least a century.
Professor Stuart White, director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS, warned that larger houses encouraged urban sprawl, putting pressure on public transport services and infrastructure.
White explained that, as well as increasing the energy consumption and environmental impact of our homes, the continued growth of Australian homes also had a social impact.
Speaking to the ABC, he said the tendency for extra bedrooms, bathrooms and home theatres was cause for concern. We tend to seek those things in a private space rather than going and seeking them in a public space or mingle with others in the community and I think that is a worrying trend, he said.
*Image* courtesy [“yewenyi”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yewenyi/2477169045/]