November 30, 2009 12:00am
AUSTRALIANS have the world's largest houses, again beating the United States, however the cost of renting is similarly expanding.
Data commissioned by CommSec shows the Australian house has grown on average by 10 per cent in the past decade to a record high of 214sq m, three times the size of the average British house.
But a second report from BIS Shrapnel has also forecast rents would continue to spiral with a rise of 5 per cent a year in Brisbane between 2010 and 2012 and similar levels in other capitals.
It was estimated landlords would pocket an extra $2 billion nationally during the period.
According to CommSec, while the houses are getting bigger, so too are the families with the number of people in each household rising from 2.51 to 2.56, the first such rise in at least 100 years.
NSW has the biggest houses in Australia and by a large margin. The size of the average new house built in NSW in 2008-09 was 262.9sq m, followed by Queensland 253sq m.
"The increase in the size of the average family unit may mean that fewer new homes need to be built," CommSec's Craig James said.
"It makes sense. Population is rising, as is the cost of housing and the cost of moving house, so we are making greater use of what we've got.
"Children are living at home longer with parents and more people are opting for shared accommodation."
Had the number of persons per household remained unchanged, CommSec estimates that 166,000 extra homes would needed to have been built in the 2007-08 year.
"If the size of the average household continues to rise, there will be reduced demand for new houses and apartments," Mr James said.
"It is questionable whether Aussie homes can, or indeed should, continue to grow.
"Generation Y is already baulking at the cost of housing, choosing to stay at home longer with parents."
In Europe Denmark has the biggest homes (houses and flats), with an average floor area of 137sq m, followed by Greece (126sq m), and the Netherlands (115.5sq m).
Homes in the UK are the smallest in Europe at 76sq m.
Bargain hunters snap up sand castles
The news came as a Sovereign Islands mansion was snapped up at auction for $9 million, the latest in a string of Gold Coast "sand castles" to sell at a hefty discount as cashed-up bargain hunters hit the luxury market.
The waterfront property – which occupies two blocks in arguably the Glitter Strip's ritziest suburb and which boasts six bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a 15-seat cinema and a 12-car garage – had been for sale for $12.95 million after being passed in at auction earlier this year.
But the owner, Gold Coast developer Scott Widdicombe, accepted the reduced offer from a mystery local buyer when the home went under the hammer on Saturday.
Despite being a relative bargain, the price is among the highest paid on the Sovereign Islands – a man-made island enclave off Paradise Point, overlooking the Southport Broadwater. The estate boasts some of Australia's most expensive real estate and has been home to the likes of motor racing legend Dick Johnson and former beer baron Bernie Power.
The Sovereign Islands sale follows that last week of fallen IT tycoon Daniel Tzvetkoff's unfinished mega-mansion on the Gold Coast's "Millionaires Row", Hedges Ave at Mermaid Beach, for $17 million – $10 million less than he paid for it just 17 months earlier.
In September, embattled surfwear retailer Rod Galt's beachfront mansion, also on Hedges Ave, sold for $9.5 million. It was just over half of what the former Carlton AFL player bought the property for from Gold Coast identity Ken Lacey in March last year.
Property agent David Vertullo, who sold the Sovereign Islands mansion, said confidence was returning to the top end of the market.
In Brisbane, 17 properties listed for auction on Saturday sold for a total of $8.3 million.
This represented a 54 per cent clearance rate, compared with 22 per cent for the same time last year.