When you’re thinking about buying or building a home, size is an important decision. The size of a house will determine how much it is worth and how expensive it is to build.
Australian houses are some of the biggest in the world.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average floor area of new free-standing Australian houses is 242sqm. This has been largely unchanged over the last ten years.
But block sizes are becoming smaller, with the average block size for a free-standing home going from 496sqm in 2012 to 432sqm in 2022.
This means that we are building similar size houses on smaller blocks. This could partly be due to increased housing density in our major cities and our desire to live closer to metropolitan areas. It also indicates that people are willing to compromise on the size of their garden. With our busy modern lifestyles, many people choose to spend less of their free time on property maintenance and more time doing what they love.
The size of your house will almost certainly be influenced by your budget and the area in which you would like to live. But here are some other factors you might want to consider.
How many people will live in the house…and for how long?
This may sound obvious, but it is the most logical place to start.
It is worth considering the long-term needs of your house. With kids choosing to stay at home well into their twenties, you may like to consider additional living areas, bathrooms and car parking space. All of which will increase the size of the house you need and your budget.
Likewise, if your kids have flown the coop, you can rethink the need for extra bathrooms and multiple living areas.
How many bedrooms do you need?
The average Australian house has three bedrooms, and the most common size family is four – two adults and two children. So, most families are allowing each child to have their own bedroom.
How many children do you have, and do they each need their own room? Of course, having your own space is important as an adult, but kids can learn important life skills from sharing a bedroom with a sibling. Negotiation, consideration and respecting others are just a few.
Of course, the gender and age of your children may determine whether or not sharing is an option.
Do you need a guest bedroom? If you have family or friends who live interstate, overseas or in regional areas that visit often, you may want a guest bedroom. But is it really necessary if you only get the occasional visitor?
What do you do at home?
It’s important to consider what you do when you are at home. For example, think about your hobbies, if you like entertaining and whether or not you’ll be working from home.
With an increasing number of us working from home at least some of the time now, a home office may be high on your list. This could be a small bedroom, a study nook or a cleverly partitioned section of the lounge room.
If you prefer to go out to socialise and don’t spend much time at home, then entertaining spaces and gourmet kitchens are probably not essential.
Does the layout substitute for space?
If a home is well laid out, size is less important. Look for a clever design that makes life easy, with things like:
● Clever built-in storage
● Study nooks
● Rooms that serve two purposes
● Having kids and adults areas positioned separately for time apart
● Outdoor living spaces designed for year-round use
Tiny houses are a great example of clever design that maximises space. These minimalist designs focus on the absolute necessities. They are packed with innovative ways to make the most of the space – from using the vertical space to hidden storage in built-in furniture. Although they may not be a practical solution for every family, they are a great source of inspiration if you are looking for ideas for how to ‘live smaller’.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all 4-bedroom houses are created equal. Think about how you’ll use it at different stages in your life, and you may decide that you have more options than you originally thought. Happy hunting!