Saturday, April 30, 2011

Are Australians greedy?

I found the above graphic striking.  It compares the average area per person occupant of new dwellings constructed in different countries. Note that Australians have more than 2.5 times the floor space of Brits and Swedes!

I saw the graphic in an article in the Weekend Property section of the Weekend Australian [it does not appear in the online version]. The graphic is from Stockland, an Australian real estate developer and contained in a recent presentation. They suggest that Australia needs to use its space more efficiently and they are leading the way in developing such houses (e.g. double story versus single story houses).

But, maybe we should ask the harder question: are we just a little bit greedy? Could we live with less?


  1. I have no idea where they receive their information but it is worth pointing out that particular media organisation is hopelessly compromised when it comes to housing - they are very much in the thrall of real-estate lobby groups and I'll go ahead and guarantee this story serves a mis- or disinformation function. I know this as I live in a tiny converted laundry, attached to a house with four others living in it - I am a professional editor, another is a primary school teacher, a fourth is an insurance conveyor and law student and the final is a full-scholarship psychics PhD from Germany. None of us are stupid, or on onerously low incomes, but all of us lived crammed in a house with one bathroom, paying the maximum rent we can afford, and we are not unique.

    So, long story short, Aussies are not greedy. But you appear to get your information from those who trumpet the interests of those who are. be very wary of Australian media. Both sides (we have only two major media owners) are hopelessly compromised.

  2. Moving to Germany I have discoveered that whole families can and do live in what i would call tiny flats. It is just the norm here, and indeed it turns out that had i moved to Britain or Sweden i would have been even more surprised.

    It's tempting to think we are being greedy, and indeed we are greedy, but the problem is now systemic. To move a family into a small flat in Aus, you are in a much worse situation than in Germany. German families have access to amazingly well serviced parks scattered with maintained play equipment, and cafes. Everybody has a park within a few hundred metres of their house.

    What's more, Germans have a community oriented society. If you go to the playground, which you must to avoid going crazy, there are many others there being friendly neighbourly types.

    It's such a shame that in Aus we're so insular. The prime counter example to me being well run universities. Those with lots of land and places to eat and student groups. Somehow when one graduates and enters the working world, this community living slowly dims...