Homes of the Future - December 2021
December 8, 2021 / Written by Rich Harvey
By Guest Blogger, Mark McCrindle,
Australia needs to build an additional three million homes over the next two decades to provide the needed infrastructure to house Australia’s growing population. But what will the homes of the future in Australia look like?
Changing needs for a home
The current demand is for homes with backyards and a home office due to the need to relax, work from home and learn from home. The type of homes people desire is changing and so is the composition of households. Australian households will still feature mostly couples with kids as we approach 2031, despite declining proportionally as our population ages. There will be a growing proportion of couples without children and growing single-person households, which is already more than a quarter of households in Australia.
Are our homes shrinking?
In 1911, the average household size in Australia was 4.5 people and by 1991, we had 2.8 people per household. Over the last 30 years that has dropped further to 2.6 people. Our households are smaller, but our actual homes are quite large.
The average house size is 220 square meters, with units being slightly smaller than that and detached houses slightly larger. The average size of a home in Australia peaked a decade ago and has since declined slightly since then.
There are some indications that the number of people per household will increase due to the rise of the multi-generational household and housing affordability. We will see more young adults living with their parents later, and indeed older parents moving in with their adult children.
The McMansion era
The era of the McMansions has passed as people are looking for more cost-effective homes offering environmental sustainability, easy maintenance, and functionality. This leads us to choosing slightly smaller homes than a decade ago at the peak of the larger homes.
However, instead of opting for the larger homes, we now want to have full efficiency of use with our homes, particularly in this era of increased working and learning from home. Those extra spaces and rooms will be put to good use for homes of the future.
A particular design element in the multi-generational households is older family residency in homes. For those wanting to stay in their homes longer, they need to be appropriate for people to age in place. This trend means that for the ageing profile, single level homes or accessibility options is going to be important for our homes.
We have the need for our homes to be adaptive to our needs and modular where that home study can be put to good use for working from home, but also be adaptive as a spare bedroom for when extended family or guests visit.
The future of our homes is not set rooms that have a singular purpose but are adaptive to our multiple needs. Particularly, as we spend more of the hours of our day, and more of the days of our week in our home. Rather than our homes being dormitories that we use during the evening, and then commute to work, that is changing, and our houses will need to adapt.
About Mark McCrindle
Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a thought leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. Having developed his reputation across two decades as an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author and social commentator, Mark has appeared across all major television networks, radio and print media, and been twice invited to speak at TEDx. He has presented thousands of keynotes and workshops in all major industries including finance, technology, health, mining, energy and education for top global brands and organisations. His advisory, communications, and research company, McCrindle, count among its clients more than 100 of the largest companies and leading international brands.
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