The trend of the McMansion is on the decline.

23 July 2013 — Australia’s obsession with the McMansion is set to end, according to urban design and town planning firm RobertsDay.

The firm’s latest report, Mixing it: How property developers can thrive in tough times, says Australia’s builders and developers predict smaller homes will be the dominant theme this decade.

“What leading industry players told us in our interviews is that we are seeing a maxing out of the average house size,” said RobertsDay managing director Deon White.

Australia currently has the largest house sizes in the world. Census data shows a steady increase in the average floor area of new residential dwellings, with new houses increasing over 50 per cent in area from 162.4 square metres in 1985 to 248 sq m in 2009.

White said this decade will be where the upward trend ends.

“The trend of the McMansion is on the decline,” he said. “Australians are turning away from the super-large Australian home. Instead, they’re starting to engage with the concept of the smaller home. People want to live a little more; they want less of their income drained into their weekly mortgage payments.”

Dale Alcock, managing director of the ABN Group and Dale Alcock Homes said he believed the trend had already ended.

“The ever-increasing average home size – that peaked in my opinion 18 months to two years ago,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll see a turnaround of ‘let’s go bigger, bigger, bigger’ again.”

Another major trend impacting the residential housing sector identified in the report was operational affordability, which has strong links to house size.

“Increasingly we will see consumers assess the affordability of running a home,” White said. “In fact, valuers are telling us that rather than affordable running costs being a ‘maybe’ factor in home-buying decisions, houses that are cheaper to run will be a significant influencer within the next 10 years.”

Housing diversity – in sizes, styles and densities – and suburb walkability were also key global trends for the next decade.

See our story Deutsche Bank decides walking creates an urban buzz

See the full Mixing It report

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