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AU Expanding horizons for families

Property Here - Saturday, May 04, 2013

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WHILE Australian households are becoming smaller on average, the size of their homes is increasing and developers are working up new product to accommodate demand.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average number of persons per house dropped from 3.1 in 1976 to 2.6 in 2010.

In the same period, the number of properties with four or more bedrooms increased from 17 per cent to 31 per cent.

Lend Lease general manager for communities Guy Gibson said his company had recognised the demand for larger homes.

"There are a lot of consumers who are looking for more space because of different living and working arrangements,'' he said.

"A lot of people are using space in the home to work from home, the desire for a proper home office instead of a study nook in the corner is increasing.

"We are also getting more multi-generation households as well.

"Many people are looking at three-bed or four-bedroom houses with two bathrooms as a better resale option than the same house with only one bathroom.''

Plantation Homes sales and marketing manager Brad Collins said demand for larger homes, especially extra garages, was driven by adult children staying at home longer.

"You might be on your third home, but still catering for adult children,'' Mr Collins said.

"No doubt a lot of our designs now are built around that dual living, where adult children are staying longer.

"We have got some single storey homes that have `kid zone' areas, where they have their own living room with bedrooms around it.''

He said a couple of their double-storey designs had master suites on the ground floor with remaining bedrooms upstairs.

Mr Collins said Plantation Homes still achieved large homes on small blocks by moving to double-storey configurations.

"We are all getting better with space requirements, it has also forced a company like us to do more double-storey,'' he said.

Plantation's Carmelle series has proven popular with larger families.

"It is a fairly new design for us which separates children's living areas and that is going well,'' Mr Collins said.

The four-bedroom home has a master bedroom at the front of the house and remaining bedrooms at the other end.

There are three separate entertainment areas, a home theatre room, children's retreat and loungeroom, as well as indoor and outdoor dining options.

The Carmelle Q1 starts at $199,900. The Longbeach range also has four bedrooms and multiple living areas with master bedrooms at the front of the home.

Fresh Homes general manager Lloyd Payne said most people would take the opportunity for a little more space.
He said for some it was an extra bathroom while others would want another bedroom.

Aside from accommodating children or visitors, he said people were also considering the potential resale in the future and felt larger homes were easier to sell.

Their four-bedroom Hawkesbury design was proving popular because it had different zones for the growing families. There is also a kids' retreat and two-car garage.

"The Hawkesbury seems to have jelled with people trying to get more home for the dollar,'' he said.

Builder Metricon has also recognised a demand for larger homes. Its Newhaven design has large open zones and flexible floorplans.

Jason Biasin, general manager Queensland, said there continued to be strong demand for large homes.

"We find many buyers need a large amount of space, particularly if they are second or third home buyers who may need to cater for multiple teenagers under one roof,'' he said.

He said Metricon had a range of home designs suited to larger families which had four or more bedrooms.

The Newhaven39 design, which is on display at Upper Coomera, is a two-storey, four-bedroom and three-bathroom home.

Mr Biasin said there were four living zones and a study space, plus entertaining areas.

In recognition of increased demand for larger homes, Lend Lease launched a super-size-your-home campaign which runs until May 19 in its Woodlands, Springfield Lakes, Stoneleigh, Yarrabilba and Fernbrooke Ridge estates.

Mr Gibson said buyers were able to increase their living space by choosing a free bedroom, bathroom or garage on selected house and land packages.

"We are working with a range of builder partners who are assisting with provision of packages on selected blocks (and) we have house and land packages available,'' Mr Gibson said.

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