Daily Archives: December 13, 2009

Where are the Biggest Houses in the World

13th December 2009

THIS POST ALSO DUPLICATED ON ACTIVERAIN a few days ago……………but thought that considering the amount of readers here that probably regularly visit there…….it was worth posting here.

The Biggest Houses in the world, it would seem, are in Australia, USA and New Zealand……and in that order.

Pole House Great Ocean Road Fairavern Victoria

PHOTO Fairhaverns Great Ocean Rd Pole House** – video link here

PHOTO CREDIT  – www.realestate.com.au

You see the ubiquitous word “lifestyle” bandied around so much these days.

So here’s the question I pose.

Have you considered that the actual larger size of our dwellings in Australiasia may have a lot to do with our lifestyle, or a visitors perception of it, perhaps, even if its only in an involuntary / unconscious sort of way?

Involuntary / Unconscious?

Well many visitors from overseas visiting NZ or Australia for the first time seem to always be struck by the lifestyle, well thats what they tell us/me anyway.

What I’m wondering out loud here is if the fact that our larger residences, say in comparision to the UK for example, could play a bigger psychological role in forming that overall lifestyle equivalent equation.

HOMES ABOVE – © adenbrookhomes.com.au

After all our larger Open Plan living area’s do mean you aren’t constantly bumping into another family member, or having to put up with juniors constant beep beep beeping of his handheld game machine…..something that might be just a tad different when your reception room is just 14ft x 12ft?

Usually large residences are the realm of Hollywood stars, millionaires, residents of California or Florida, or those folk who feature in editions of that US TV Show “Extreme Makeover.”

Just consider the above chart if you will.

The latest report was commissioned by the Commwealth Banks research arm Commsec, via ABS data.

The Courier Mail quoted CommSec’s Craig James as saying;

“The increase in the size of the average family unit may mean that fewer new homes need to be built”

One also wonders whether the fact that Kiwis and Aussies have so much of their individual personal wealth tied up in their family home doesn’t have something to do with it either.

Then again I’m not so sure that all countries measure the same way as we do too. I mean do other countries always count the garage square meterage as part of the home, likewise porch or patio?

And in a slightly related yet interesting factoid the Sydney Morning Heralds Peter Martin reported in his front page Monday story last week, that in Australia fully 1 in 7 new homes (15%) are only replacing demolished homes. That is interesting.

This quote below, albeit from April 2005, from Ian Graham of nationmaster.com also adds to the discussion;

The only point being made here is that people in the top five countries for this statistic have a lot of space, and that they all speak English, which is a factor of their sharing a common mother country. It isn’t surprising for the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Australia to have such large houses, since those countries all have population densities of less than 30 people per square kilometer, far less than the United Kingdom’s rate of 244.69 people per square kilometer.

One point I could make is that, along with its language, England also exported a culture which valued individuality and privacy, and also that these former colonies have prospered economically, with New Zealand having the lowest ranking of the five in GDP per capita, at 35th-highest in the world. Presumably, people in Pakistan, India and Nicaragua would build houses large enough so that up to three people didn’t have to share a room, if they could afford to.

Other points could also be made, such as the relationship that seems to exist between controlled population growth (all five of the countries with the largest houses have an average annual increase of less than one percent) and a higher standard of living.

Also in Australia, their Bureau of Statistics data in that report commissioned by CommSec also showed the average floor area of new free-standing houses (thats not including apartments or flats) across the ditch was 245.3sqm, a record high they stated.

CommSec’s Craig James told the ABC, in referring to new build house, that;

our homes are about a third bigger than they were 20 years ago, and 10% bigger than they were a decade ago

And the last interesting factoid to leave you with, courtesy of demographia.com ……….

Meanwhile, over the last 20 years, the average new detached house in Australia and New Zealand has increased by an amount equivalent to the average total size of a house in United Kingdom.

I guess as a Kiwi theres only one word to say here……Hmmmm?

** the Pole House pictured top is available to rent out for your next holiday I see here.

Boomers – Top 5 Value Add ons for your New build Home

From a practicality point of view, Tip 4 is probably the most “wanting” thing that I see missing from new homes, be they for aging boomers or other age categories.


Vertical slide out Pantries

Photo Credit – YES


Because they just make so …..so much sense.

Walk-in pantries are so last ………….

Conveniences to look forward to with a slide-out…….. are things like;

1] not having to reach over something to get to it.

2] having easy access for bulky / heavier items, that could simply…..because of their weight / obscure handling design.…..just slip from hands under a normal pantry environment

3] assisting to reduce the amount of “out of date” merchandise, mainly by quashing the amount of “I’ll use that one day” but it gets something put in front of it ….pattern

PHOTO CREDT – wec.co.nz

4] just ease of physical use, especially if mobility was ever to be an issue

5] everythings clearer! courtesy of the fact that once everything is rolled / wheeled /or slid out you can so much easier conduct a visual examination of an item rather than trying to dechiper one buried in the corner of a dark corner pantry.

6] pound for pound (oophs thats kilo for kilo) you get more real estate, more storage space

PHOTO CREDIT – slideoutshelvesllc.com

7] almost the single most overlooked part of this equation, you know that sort of “deja-vu” when you look at the final plan, or arrive on site to do a “3/4’s finished construction eyeball” that all of a sudden that space between the fridge and the wall or oven isn’t really that big now……….thoughts spring to a dual width vertical “bookcase style” winerack about now….but theres about another 2-3″ you just can’t figure what to do with.


Forget the bookshelf cubby hole style winerack and use that plus those extra 2-3″ to give yourself a present….yes thats right……..a fantastic pull out vertical pantry.

PHOTO CREDIT –Hettich New Zealand

Download their flyer here. (PC disclaimer here – nope I’m not in any way associated with them – they just are smart when it comes to using the web to show me exactly what can be done, in very clear large photos, and I like that.)

PHOTO CREDIT – thelaminexgroup

There are others too.

Its not hard to see that in the end it just comes down to imagination…….oh and physically possible techniques…….then again even on that front……if its something that you conceive, in the world we live in today, it just might be possible?

To my way of thinking few other innovations in the house can make the difference that this small change can. Talking to just about everyone who has one now in their kitchen, the elevator pitch is just about universal “how did I ever do without one of these?”

Most of those that I have seen in new builds conform to the standard cupboard / shelf width style, but hey theres nothing stopping you from being creative….even as far as having adjustable shelving……remember Point 2] above.

Some folks actually have 2 of them! And in questioning them, if they built again they’d probably go for 3! Now what does that tell you?

You really do owe it to your long term sanity to build one of these into your next new kitchen, heck if you don’t want to pay someone else, watch this and DIY.

And in ending heres a great comment from HowStuffWorks….

Store items in your pantry by category. A well-designed pantry can hold much more than food, including dishes and cookware.

Pots, Pans, cooking bowls, surely the advantage offered by a slide-out pantry must be one of the blessings of life now?

But at the end of the day, in all but 1% of cases, it all comes down to cost, and frankly everyone would have all these extra features and more….as long as it doesn’t cost more than 3% of the build cost……..that’s the figure that all the worldwide research shows could turn the corner.

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Nelson Home Sales Report November 2009 – PREVIEW

13th December 2009

During November the local Nelson Property market certainly saw some sales.

Since Nov 2008 only March 2009 with 109 sales, has been higher.

ABOVE GRAPHIC – NZ Property Report November 2009

As can be seen from the above, asking prices in our region increased more than anywhere else in the South Island.

ABOVE GRAPHIC – NZ Property Report November 2009 – New Property Listings

There was a slight improvement in listings coming onto the Nelson market in November 2009, however “on the ground” it didn’t really have a noticeable effect on the local market over those 4 weeks. The feeling was still one of a shortage of listings to satisfy the amount of buyers out there on the street.

Really nothing conclusive about this chart, more a steady as she goes snapshot.

Volume was considerably up on November period of twelve months ago, 100 last month vs 59 sales in November 2008.

A slight nudge upwards in the median price from last month to $320,000 (based on preliminary figures only)

“Days taken to Sell” blew out a bit compared to Oct, 43 vs 28 (again based on preliminary figures) but up on the 57 days it took back a year ago in Nov 08.

CHART – click on above for larger version

Sections still rebounded …….with 14 sold in November 2009, off the previous months 27 units, but still a healthy number nonetheless.

In our local predominantly family market 3 bedroom homes dominate, taking out 55% of the units by percentage last month. That said as the above graphic depicts, there’s still a healthy 2 bedroom one too.

Overall it seems that the volume of 2 and 3 bedroom units/homes sold detracted volume from the 1 bed and 4 / 5+ bedroom ends of the market.

Official REINZ November 2009 figures should be out in the next few days, after which I may update these.

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