In NSW, architects are trying to raise awareness of the issue by making sustainability a criterion in the awards for design excellence.
The pandemic seems to have slowed the recent trend of apartment living, which most studies show is more energy efficient, not to mention cheaper.
The construction of new apartments has come down in the last two years, while the house construction has done well. This partly reflects declining demand for apartments from the foreign student population and is also due to the structure of federal housing incentive payments that support stand-alone homes.
In addition, many people are inclined to buy larger homes because they are tired of living in overcrowded apartments with little to no room to spare.
Rents for both houses and apartments declined last year when borders closed, but a Domain Rent report released this week found that rent demand in Sydney over the past year is twice as fast for homes as flats. has increased, rising by 9.1 percent as against 4.3 percent.
The choice of house size will depend on the specific circumstances of the people, from the size and structure of the houses to their working arrangements. Everyone will have their own preference.
Yet people definitely need to take into account both their out-of-pocket and environmental costs when deciding how big a home they want.
There may be changes in financial amounts. For the past few decades, rising home prices have made buying a large home a solid investment as home buyers expect strong capital appreciation.
But housing may not be such a sure thing in the next few years as the Reserve Bank is expected to start raising interest rates from zero-floor for the past two years.
Governments have a role to play in addressing inefficiencies in the housing market. The tax and pension system is often discouraging for older Australians who have large family homes with empty bedrooms. The number of additional rooms increases with the age of the head of the household. When they’re over 60, there’s an average of about 1.5 extra bedrooms.
Premier Dominic Perrot can help the downsizer by moving forward his plan to replace the stamp duty on property sales with a broad-based land tax.
One of the unexpected side effects of the pandemic is the return of the golden age of freestanding homes on a quarter-acre block. But this trend may well spread along with the virus.
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