In defense of larger Australian homes

In 2009, new Australian homes became the largest in the world, beating even new US homes. But while large homes in the United States are sometimes derided as greedy, unnecessary, wasteful, and simply status symbols, data from one Australian survey suggests homebuyers purchase such homes because they want or need the space:

Homeowners are also increasingly happy to trade the traditional back yard for a larger lounge room and home cinema, according to a survey of more than 2500 people by removalists Grace Removals.

Space trumps neighbours and location, with 19 per cent of people saying the best thing about their home is its size, ahead of the suburb they live in (12 per cent) or being close to family and friends (7 per cent). The toilet was named the most important item in the home by 62 per cent of respondents…

But it’s family considerations, rather than status or greed, that is behind the popularity of so-called McMansions, McCrindle Research personal demographer Mark McCrindle says.

“We have a lot more going on in these larger homes,” Mr McCrindle said. “We are trending towards multi-generational households, where you have children living well into adulthood in the family home. We are also seeing more people work or run a business from home.”

I wonder if such an explanation would fly in the United States. It might be hard to make this case as the average size of the American family has decreased even as the average new house size has risen since World War Two.

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