Family Matters: Is Australia Not Building Enough Family Friendly Homes?
The patterns in Australia’s housing construction are clear. Nationally, 40% of housing approvals are for semi-detached or non-detached dwellings (i.e. apartments, units and flats). Over the past three years, these dwellings have accounted for more than 66% of housing units approved in Sydney, and around 55% in Melbourne. This is a trend that doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon.
This shift has been enthusiastically greeted by a large section of the population becoming keen on vibrant, sustainable, cosmopolitan high density living. There are definitely lots of benefits associated with this that are not to be discounted. However. the question we should be asking is, have we gotten a little too carried away in our enthusiasm and not paused to look at the bigger question? Is it possible that Australia is not building enough family friendly homes to ensure a fair, equitable and sustainable future for our population?
Conventional wisdom holds that this change in building trends has been brought about by a combination of reasons. This includes shrinking family sizes, a growing portion of households without children, an increase in the desire for dwellings close to transport links and employment opportunities, recreation and cultural enjoyment, increasing migrant population (especially from Asia) that are used to apartment style living, downsizing by older households and finally, a broader desire to limit urban sprawl. But, this isn’t necessarily backed up by the numbers.
It’s true that lone person and childless couple households will increase over the next decade, but a large portion of these will be people whose children have left home, not those who are choosing not to have children at all. At the other end of the scale, young singles and childless couples that may initially be suited to high density living, will often end up having children further down the line.
Given that households have a relatively low propensity to downsize until they reach 75 (and continue to living in their detached households until that time), a combination of these factors means that the correlation of the projected number of childless households with an increased demand for living in smaller, high rise apartments is fundamentally flawed. There’s going to be more people raising families sooner than the number that will be downsizing, resulting in gap in supply and a shortage of family friendly detached housing.
In fact, ABS data reveals that if current dwelling approval patterns continue as they are now, there will be a shortage of 28,500 and 19,000 detached, family friendly homes in Sydney and Melbourne respectively. At the same time it will also lead to a glut of thousands of oversupplied apartments. Rather than solving the current housing affordability crisis, it’ll simply shift it to those looking for detached home to raise their family.
So what does this mean? Well, the upshot is that despite the current hype surrounding cosmopolitan high density living, family friendly detached homes represent a very solid choice for those looking to build an investment property. With Perth following along in the footsteps of Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to housing approval patterns, the coming decades are likely to see a shortage of supply in this area — something which will only push prices upward.
Whether you’re looking for a savvy investment opportunity or are considering building a quality home in which to raise your family in the coming years, there has never been a better time to build. At Impressions the Home Builder we can get you into a new home faster! Check out our great range of house and land packages now.
Get in touch to find out more. You don’t want to wait too long and get caught in the impending detached housing shortage!