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New CBA research shows Australian homes now biggest in world

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    As Australians increasingly work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian homes are getting larger, according to new research from Commsec, the stockbroking arm of Commonwealth Bank.

    Commsec found that the average size of a new house built in 2019-20 was 2.9% larger than the previous year, according to a report by The New Daily. That’s the largest increase in 11 years, and saw Australia become the builder of the largest houses in the world – causing Commsec economists to wonder whether this was the start of a new trend, The New Daily reported.

    While Australia has routinely built some of the largest homes in the world over the past few decades, the average size of new homes has trended downward for the past seven years as homebuilders became more environmentally conscious and built lower-maintenance homes that were less expensive to run, The New Daily reported. Families also had fewer children, home buyers wanted to live closer to the city, and skyrocketing property prices forced many to buy smaller homes. In 2018-19, new homes in Australia shrank to their smallest size in 17 years.

    “But over the past year there appears to have been a perception that homes had shrunk a little too much,” Commsec economists Ryan Felsman and Craig James wrote in a note. “The recent experience with COVID-19 has certainly caused more families to look for bigger homes and caused others to add extra rooms to existing homes.”

    Australians are also ramping up home renovation, according to The New Daily. Commonwealth Bank data found that credit and debit-card spending on household furnishings in the weeks ending June 26 and July 03 rose 25% and 51%, respectively, year over year. And credit bureau Illion’s weekly spending tracker showed that in the week ending November 01, Australians spent 59% more on home improvement than they did during a typical pre-pandemic week.

    Homebuilders have also reported a significant jump in inquiries since the federal government announced its $25,000 HomeBuilder grants in June, The New Daily reported.

    The pandemic seems to have focused renovations on home offices, energy efficiency and connection to nature, renovation expert Cherie Barger told The New Daily. Duncan Eadie, owner of Victoria-based Cumberland Building and Maintenance, told the publication that people seemed to prefer building “study nooks” connected to open-plan living spaces as opposed to isolated home offices.

    “There’s times when they need to be segregated, but people don’t want to be taken too much out of their own environment,” he said. “They don’t want to be stuck in a shoebox looking at four walls.”

    Original Article