Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cultural, economic views on the big Australian house

Image of housing courtesy microsoft clipart.

THE Australian obsession with big houses has been a visible social trend while sustainable development and wise use of resources have been a focus.
Some may regard the 'upsizing' as a snub to environmental considerations. Of course, many families need big houses and others do not but whether need, want or greed is the driver, analysts find positives as well as negatives from the big-house trend.
Less than one year ago, statistics showed the typical size of a new Australian home had reached 215 square metres, Fairfax Media economics writer Peter Martin reported.

QUOTING Statistics Bureau data compiled for Commonwealth Securities, Martin said Australians were piling on sitting rooms, family rooms, studies and extra bedrooms, with the size of our homes overtaking those in the US as the world's biggest.
Commonwealth Securities economist Craig James acknowledged that "the biggest homes in the world ... could be better utilised'' but he said the number of Australians living in each home had risen slightly.
"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," he said. "Children are staying at home longer and more people are opting for shared accommodation ... If sustained, it will save us building 166,000 homes.''

MY research into house size followed a recent Classified notice seeking host families for about 40 Japanese teenagers who will visit Redland City next month under a program involving Education Queensland International and Cleveland State High School.
Yoshie Harris, who organises the annual visit through her study tour agency Speaknow Education, says Australian house sizes are the biggest surprise for the Japanese teenagers.
Website references indicate the average dwelling size in Japan is under 100 square metres – less than half the size of the typical new Aussie home.

ALTHOUGH house size has topped the list of student comments, Yoshie says the visitors also note the beautiful greenery and beaches, and the friendliness of Australians.
She enjoys working with the young people from her homeland. Yoshie and her husband Leon met while he taught English in Japan about 20 years ago. In 2004, they settled at Alexandra Hills with their children, Erica, now 12, and Leonard, 10.
The Redland visitors, aged 14 and 15, from Shukutoku Junior High School will be part of a 162-student group, which will be split among four South East Queensland High Schools.
By Wednesday, Yoshie needed only two more host families for the Cleveland group during the three-night stay from August 26 to 28.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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