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Why Dual Occupancy Homes Are Here to Stay for Australians

Why Dual Occupancy Homes Are Here to Stay for Australians

There’s certainly no shortage of discussion around housing in Australia as of late, but there is certainly a shortage of affordable and high-quality housing for many. Dual occupancy homes are becoming incredibly popular because they address some of the pressing economic burdens whilst also providing owners with a huge range of benefits.

Is this just a trend or is dual occupancy here to stay? Here are a few points to consider regarding dual occupancy homes and why they’re so vital:

Changes in Housing from the Post-War Era to Today

The postwar era saw a massive baby boom (hence boomers) and unprecedented wealth. Unlike other such countries, however, Australia uniquely calls the predecessor generation of the boomers the ‘builders’ generation because they essentially built a huge amount of infrastructure that we use today.

This includes the massive expansion of suburban neighbourhoods and single-family detached homes, built for much larger families than most of us are having today. This generation is now nearly 80 years old (or older) and times have changed quite a bit, and so too the preferences for housing have also changed.

The younger generations, ignoring cost (which has skyrocketed), generally aren’t having large families and need far less space, smaller gardens and front lawns, and often prefer having easier access to the CBD via transit or a short commute.

Whereas Australia’s cities often have some apartment (high-density) housing in the CBDs, the remainder of the city’s suburban and peripheral areas are predominantly low-density postwar homes.

There is a Massive Demand for Medium-Density Housing

This pattern is not unique to Australia’s cities, overseas cities such as Toronto have also developed largely around the postwar boom, featuring high-rise apartments surrounded by low-density single-family detached postwar homes. Nevertheless, the situation is not well-suited for the demands of today’s demographics.

Medium-density is in massive demand at the moment. This includes duplexes, townhouses, and dual occupancy homes. It is estimated that a little over 12pc (approximately 17pc in Melbourne) of all Australian real estate is medium-density, but demand for this type of housing is much higher than supply. When demand outstrips supply, the consequence is higher prices.

Demographic Patterns are Changing Rapidly

As mentioned previously, people today don’t have as big of families as they had two or three generations ago. Combined with the enormous amount of new migrants arriving in Australia year after year and a supply side that can barely keep up, and the result should be clear: property prices and rental prices skyrocket due to overwhelming demand.

It isn’t just numbers, however. Many young individuals participating in the labour force might not want to stay in the CBD in a tight apartment unit, but a sprawling single family detached home might be too much work to care for. Medium-density housing such as dual occupancy homes satisfy the needs of a huge segment of the population.

Dual Occupancy Homes Help Increase Supply

The development of a dual occupancy home generates 1-2 new units of housing, depending on whether it is developed over an existing single-family home or built on a newly subdivided empty lot. While this is all well and good, it’s also important to consider the quality of housing being created.

Smaller (but not too small like an apartment) housing is easier to clean and maintain; big enough to own a large dog breed and have him roam happily, or perhaps a child with their own bedroom, but not too big, either! For many Australians, dual occupancy homes are an essential means of increasing supply and providing superb opportunities both for the property owner as well as any tenants.

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