Increase in McMansion construction in Australia

The real growth in McMansions may be taking place in Australia:

But research reveals that while the size of Australian families is shrinking, our appetite for McMansions has supersized, with construction of six-or-more-bedroom homes jumping 21 per cent during the past five years.

And the number of five-bedroom McMansions increased 20 per cent over the same period, according to the 2011 Census data.

Demographer Mark McCrindle said despite forecasts of a McMansion glut in Australia – similar to parts of the US – the McDonald’s of housing is a vision of things to come rather than a relic of the past.

“McMansion popularity is being fuelled by the Sandwich generation, multigenerational households where parents have grown-up children and their own parents living at home,” Mr McCrindle said.

“It’s about affordability. The McMansion is efficient for homebuyers looking for big, cheap housing, it’s also about floor space that is flexible and adapts to a family’s changing needs.”…

Mr McCrindle said while new land blocks are getting smaller, Australians are building the largest houses in the world on those blocks. The average size of a new home is 10 per cent larger than the average new American home.

This raises several questions for me. One, will the fate that befall the United States that was partly attributed to McMansions also befall Australia? The argument made by some in the US is that the overconstruction and overconsumption of McMansions inevitably led to a housing and economic crisis. Is this necessarily the case or are there other factors in Australia that would change the outcome? Second, are these McMansions as bad as critics suggest if a good number of them are housing multigenerational families? McMansions are often criticized for being resource-hungry homes but some may be operating as more affordable housing (for some).


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