FHBs ditching Aussie dream in favour of more affordable options

First home buyers appear to be giving up on the idea of owning a traditional quarter-acre block, as medium density housing market skyrockets



Australians are increasingly abandoning the traditional dream of a home on a quarter-acre block in favour of the convenience and affordability of medium density housing, according to newly released Bankwest research.

The Bankwest Housing Density Report reveals that two in five (38%) Australian home approvals over the past 12 months were for medium density dwellings, including units, townhouses and semi-detached houses, compared to fewer than one in three (31%) only five years ago.

Bankwest retail chief executive, Vittoria Shortt, says the country’s high property prices have made the Australian dream of a stand-alone house in the suburbs harder to achieve.

“The popularity of medium density housing will likely be maintained as older Australians continue downsizing to more manageable self-contained units and first time buyers look to medium density dwellings as a cost effective option.”

Across the country, the number of medium density housing approvals has increased by 18% over the last five years, in comparison to stand-alone home approvals, which fell by around 16%.

On average, it takes 3.3 years for a first time buyer couple to save for a unit deposit, whereas it would take them nearly eleven months longer to save for a house deposit (4.2 years).


The Bankwest Housing Density Report found that during the past 12 months, 87% of all medium density dwelling approvals across Australia were in capital cities, with only 13% of the national total in regional areas - a considerable jump up from 69% in 2007.

The lender says this is likely a reflection of the large increases in the volume of medium density approvals seen in Melbourne and Sydney over this period.

Inner city areas, unsurprisingly, face the highest demand for medium density housing. Since 2007, 97% of housing approvals in inner Melbourne were for homes in this category. Figures for inner Sydney and inner Brisbane follow closely behind at 95%.

“The convenience of an inner city lifestyle is driving demand for medium density housing in centralised areas. Young city professionals are shunning the traditional homeowner dream in favour of lower overheads and a shorter commute to work.”

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