Love It Or List It Australia

Beyond the backyard: This is the new Australian Dream

Owning a single-storey home on a quarter-acre block was once considered 'living the dream' for the average Australian family. But, with the changing property landscape across the country, that dream has been re-imagined.

Higher-density living offers potential homebuyers an opportunity in the midst of a property boom in Australia. There's not much room to (literally) move on the idea of a quarter-acre block in the country's metropolitan areas, but smaller land plots or apartment living are no longer seen as a compromise on lifestyle.

"As our cities have expanded and our urban planning has changed, the dream has evolved alongside," says Stephen Thompson, managing director of Allworth Homes.

"A push by state governments to reduce lot sizes and make better use of infrastructure has resulted in the Australian dream now looking like a small, usable property in a great location with plenty of public space," he says.

Affordability

One plainly obvious factor for a move towards higher-density living is cost.

"Higher-density accommodation is much more affordable. It goes against the old-fashioned Australian mindset, but it's how most of the world lives," says Stephen.

The key is to weigh up your options and determine if having a backyard is vital, or if you can do without that extra bedroom. If you plan to live in this home for a long time to come, think about how it will age with you.

"It is more sustainable for our cities and lower maintenance for tenants and buyers. Ultimately, the affordability of high-density properties is a big drawcard for people," he says.

Accessibility and sustainability

Research from Allworth Homes revealed that potential customers rated an environmentally-conscious home among their top five considerations when building.

"Baby boomers looking to minimise their carbon footprint are requesting solar passive designs and grey water garden solutions," says Stephen.

Smaller spaces with clever design also require less energy consumption to heat or cool a home.

"Higher density housing means lower maintenance and a smarter use of space, both of which are great things," Stephen says. "However, people will always want their own 'patch’ and for some, that looks like a backyard with a dividing fence."

Smart spaces

As the size of our living spaces decreases, builders, architects and even the humble homeowner are constantly pioneering new ideas to make the most of what they've got.

"Having less space forces you to use what you have better," says Stephen. "For example, people are choosing to have open plan design elements in their houses, making them more versatile."

Stephen also notes that an indoor-outdoor entertaining space is popular for new builds. "This allows people to enjoy the effect of alfresco living, without needing the space," he says.

Love it or List it Australia returns to Lifestyle September 26, 8.30pm.

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