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8731.0 - Building Approvals, Australia, Jul 2001  
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Special Article - Average floor area of new dwellings


This article was published in Building Approvals, Australia (ABS Cat. no. 8731.0) July 2001


INTRODUCTION

This article presents information obtained from the quarterly Building Activity Survey relating to the floor area of new dwellings.

The 'Floor Area' of a building is a measure of the amount of areal space in a building (and its attachments), and is measured in square metres. The boundary of the recorded floor area of a building is delineated by the external perimeter of the external walls of the building. If a building has an unenclosed verandah, carport, etc, attached outside an external wall of one or more storeys, then the area under the verandah is excluded.


METHOD

The floor area data used in the following analyses was obtained from Building Activity collections and is a measure of the floor area of a building at the final stage of its construction. Average floor area data was not stated for about 10% of all dwellings and therefore these were excluded from the analyses. Average floor area was calculated using the formula: Total floor area of all completed dwellings in the year/Number of completed dwellings in the year.


RESULTS

The average floor area of new residential buildings from 1985-86 to 1999-2000 is summarised below.

Average floor area of new residential buildings, Australia

Graph - Average floor area of new residential buildings, Australia


There has been a steady increase in the average floor area of new dwellings over the last 15 years. The average floor area of new dwellings increased by 28% between 1985-86 and 1999-2000, from 155.6 m2 to 199.5 m2. New houses increased from 169.7 m2 to 221.5 m2 (31%), while new other residential buildings increased from 103.6 m2 to 129.9 m2 (25%).

AVERAGE FLOOR AREA OF RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS
1985-86
m2
1995-96
m2
1999-00
m2
1985-86 to 1999-00
% change
1995-96 to 1999-00
% change

Australia
Houses
169.7
199.6
221.5
31
11
Other residential
103.6
123.8
129.9
25
5
Total
155.6
179.3
199.5
28
11
Capital cities
Houses
175.9
205.8
229.8
31
12
Other residential
108.2
124.0
128.3
19
4
Total
160.1
180.9
200.3
25
11
Rest of State
Houses
162.0
192.1
209.9
30
9
Other residential
96.1
123.4
134.7
40
9
Total
149.7
177.2
198.1
32
12


The table shows the percentage change in floor area over the last five years and the last 15 years. The average floor area of new houses in capital cities increased by 31% between 1985-86 and 1999-2000, from 175.9 m2 to 229.8 m2. Similarly, the average floor area of new houses outside the capital city regions increased by 30%, from 162.0 m2 to 209.9 m2.
Average floor area of new houses, Capital cities vs Rest of State

Graph - Average floor area of new houses, Capital cities vs Rest of State


The graph shows the average floor area of new houses was higher in capital cities than in regions outside the capital cities. For example, in 1999-2000, average floor area was 9.4% or 19.8 m2 higher in capital cities. There was no significant difference in other residential buildings.

AVERAGE FLOOR AREA OF HOUSES BY STATE OR TERRITORY
1985-86
m2
1995-96
m2
1999-00
m2
1985-86 to 1999-00
% change
1995-96 to 1999-00
% change

NSW
168.8
199.4
241.3
43
21
Vic.
168.7
189.8
212.1
26
12
Qld
164.7
201.0
224.4
36
12
SA
165.6
192.1
207.4
25
8
WA
196.3
220.8
218.6
11
-1
Tas.
150.9
176.7
194.1
29
10
NT
147.4
184.3
185.4
26
1
ACT
149.2
174.4
214.3
44
23
Aust.
169.7
199.6
221.5
31
11

(a) Careful interpretation should be placed on data at the State or Territory level as annual variations can occur depending on the mix of houses with stated floor area.

The average floor area of houses increased in all States and Territories over the last 15 years. Highest increases were in the Australian Capital Territory (44%), New South Wales (43%) and Queensland (36%).

In the last five years, the average floor area of houses in Western Australia and the Northern Territory remained relatively stable, while the average floor area in the remaining States and Territories increased. The highest increases were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (23%) and New South Wales (21%).

The table shows that the average floor area of houses was higher in the larger States than in the smaller States and Territories. For example, in 1999-2000, average floor area was highest in New South Wales (241.3 m2) and Queensland (224.4 m2), and lowest in the Northern Territory (185.4 m2) and Tasmania (194.1 m2).

For more information on this topic contact Roger Mableson on 08 8237 7494.


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