Saturday, 25 February 2023

New study shows we have by far the biggest capital city homes in the world. But they’re all in Canberra.

by Berkeley Lovelace

Canberra. Home to the world’s best politicians. The best manmade lake and now, according to a British study, the capital city with the world’s biggest homes.

And by a country mile.

Canberra. The Bush Capital built in a frost hollow at the turn of the century as an inconvenient effigy for national indecision and colonial obtuseness. Cold, dark and damp in winter. An airport with a direct flight to Moruya and a stagnant depressed population of about 16 which swells to about 25 when parliament sits every leap year.

Canberra. With a median house size of 256.3sqm, easily one-third larger than homes in Cairo, the next, second ranked capital. Cairo. Home of The Pharoahs, the Pyramids and where Cleopatra clasped an asp to her bosom rather than bow to the nephew of her lover’s former boss and her son’s half brother.

Canberra’s homes though, are apparently 36% larger than Cairo, whose teeny median dwellings measured a forgettable average 188sqm.

Needless to say Canberran homes are well over twice the size of what the eight people in Wellington call a home, which to Canberrans is a kitchen of just 123sqm.

And Canberran homeowners have, on average, 560 per cent more floor space than those living in Moscow in a typical 45.5sqm space – too small to get a mortgage with some Australian banks.

The report revealed that Asia and Oceana is the continent with the largest homes and that the US – home of all things big – doesn’t even rank near the top.

Washington D.C. averaged a floor plan of 86.6sqm, coming in at 35 out of the 72 capitals in the study.

While Australia’s other cities weren’t on the national capitals list (‘cos they’re not national capitals), recent ABS data from new private sector house building approvals throughout 2012–2021 showed most of our cities are part of the spacious home trend.

New homes in greater Sydney average a floor area of 254sqm, in Melbourne it’s 247sqm and Brisbane has a typical footprint of 241sqm.

Interestingly, the less populous cities of Adelaide and Perth had the smallest layouts at 220sqm and 214sqm respectively.

The Bureau of Numbers says our combined capitals average 242sqm, which has shrunk over the last 10 years from 254sqm back in 2012.

Only Bris Vegas and Adelaide actually saw a lift in floor space over that time of a generous 5%.

The ABS also notes that while were a nation of outsized houses, the average site area of new homes has been shrinking over the same period, smaller by 13% over the last decade.

The runaway cost of land and the cunning increase of multi-storey homes is what the Pom researchers reckon is behind that.

PropTrack meanwhile sees Canberra prices falling more than the national average of between 7-10%, and alongside Sydney and Brisbane, the national capital is set to experience some of the biggest price falls across the country following the latest RBA price attack on the cost of money.

That said, The Big House capital’s price increases in recent years have also been among the nation’s highest. At the end of 2022 PropTrack says, properties were up 36.4% since the pandemic began in early 2020.

Canberra’s average home prices have slipped 5.1% from the peak reached in March 2022, and now 2.6% below their December 2021 levels.

Keen to add to Canberra’s demographics? (Okay, there’s about 450k out there.)

According to PropTrack, the current going median dwelling price in the capital of the world’s capital’s largest home is an outrageous $843,000 with houses at $968,000, only behind Sydney’s very resasonable $1.242 million.

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