Cities need more housing to accommodate the growing population, but it means downsizing homes.

Houses in Australia are the world’s second largest, according to CommSec data. The average newly built Australian home is 183.3sqm, 30% larger than a new house built 30 years ago. Houses in Vitoria are the biggest, with the average floor area of a house at 245sqm.

However, increasing population in capital cities means houses should be built smaller to accommodate more residents.

The New South Wales government predicted the state’s population to reach 9.9m by 2023. Sydney, already housing 5.2m people, could increase by another 2m in the next 15 years.

Predictions also saw Melbourne growing from 4.9m to 7m during the same period, and Brisbane to increase from 2.3m to 3.2m.

Immigration and the country’s healthy birth rate are the primary causes of the population boom. High life expectancy and move from the country to cities also affected this increase.

The current low-rise suburban model couldn’t sustain the increasing population, according to Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.

“Cities could still grow in population and maintain quality of life. However, all those new people can’t have their own quarter-acre block,” said Johnson.

The Urban Taskforce slammed the NSW government for excluding housing development as one of its priorities for its term in office.

“The absence of any priority around housing supply seems to signal a lack of interest in how the state will house population growth in an affordable manner,” said Johnson.

While there have been calls to downsize houses, Aussies have been building smaller homes according to CommSec. Building freestanding houses continued, but the size of the average new house stabilised over the past five years, after peaking in size about six years ago. The number of smaller units available helped the overall drop in home sizes. 

“There are still McMansions being built, but there are fewer of them,” CommSec said.