“According to the 2011 census, the percentage of group households increased to 4.1% from 3.9% in 2006, whereas the percentage of single (lone person) households declined to 24.3% from 24.4%.”
ABS data confirms this trend, with the number of people per dwelling rising since 2006, while the number of bedrooms per dwelling has also been trending upwards.
“There is significant latent capacity (excess bedrooms) in the pre-existing housing stock. Should economic conditions deteriorate materially, the number of Australians opting for group accommodation would likely rise significantly, just as it did in the USA, which could potentially turn a perceived housing shortage into a surplus.”
While Australia’s restrictive urban planning regime has helped drive prices higher during the boom, van Onselen says it’s unlikely to save the country from price falls in the event of a major shock to demand.
“A perceived housing shortage could easily turn into an oversupply, just like it did in the supply-restricted states of the USA.”