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Why land is shrinking but houses are not

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The size of the land in the new building has decreased for 10 years, but the size of the new house in the land hasn’t changed much, new data show.

In all five major capitals, the land size of new homes has shrunk by 13% over the last decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Of all the capitals, Brisbane showed the largest decline, with residential size declining by an average of 20%.

Demand for Brisbane’s land is increasing as more land is available and affordable compared to Australia’s largest capital. This is the result of interstate migration to Queensland and a surge in the number of locals building homes.

In Brisbane, the land size of homes has decreased the most.Photo: Getty


Sydney hasn’t fallen far behind, with blocks of land shrinking by 18% over the last decade.

So why is this happening? There are several main reasons.

The first is the cost of land. As the population grows, the amount of land in the suburbs is becoming more and more finite. This means that Australians have to pay premiums to buy a home with more land.

For many, this is not possible. With rising mortgage rates and rising living costs, more and more Australians are choosing to buy or build homes on smaller blocks of land.

Australians are building on smaller blocks of land.Photo: Getty


The second is the rise of urban infills. This includes diverting underutilized areas such as existing suburban open green spaces to build additional housing.

Most of the suburbs undergoing this transformation have infrastructure, transportation, shared community spaces and are close to work, so the lots in these developments are smaller than could be provided further away. It has become.

The trade-offs for these developments are more shared areas like parks.

The size of the land is shrinking, but the house is not. This trend is evident in all major capitals, according to ABS data on the floor area of ​​new homes.

Within the capital, Sydney has the largest new home, followed by Melbourne. This is probably because the cost of land is higher than in other cities, encouraging people to build larger homes that may be proportionally cheaper than buying larger land.

This data shows that Australians continue to value their living space. This is a clear trend before and during the pandemic following blockades and increased remote work.

More insights from a team of PropTrack experts:

As our population grows and we run out of land in metropolitan areas, urban planners aim to maximize the available space.

As a result, the backyard of new builds may shrink further over the next decade.

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