Jul 13, 2017
Michael Matusik

The song, When We Get behind Closed Doors, was first covered by Charlie Rich in 1973 and by many others since.  Even Percy Sledge and Diana Ross had a go.

So, to close out this week, let’s talk about what’s going on in our detached house bedrooms, shall we?  And if you are into the group scene, well, this story is for you.

Australia, detached houses

Bedrooms No. Five year change 2011 2016
None or one 74k -2,450 -3% 1% 1%
Two 533k -37,170 -7% 10% 9%
Three 2.766m -94,040 -3% 50% 47%
Four 2.086m 199,610 11% 32% 35%
Five or more 476k 79,040 20% 7% 8%
Total 5.92m 144,980 3% 100% 100%

*Excludes not stated.  Compares 2011 to 2016, as results for 2006 are not available.

Some observations:

  • Some 145,000 new detached houses have been created across Australia over the past five years. Sadly, results for 2006 haven’t been published, so it’s a five year spread.
  • And our new detached houses are getting bigger. Well, they are getting more bedrooms, with the largest increase being the houses with four bedrooms, up some 200,000 since 2011.  Houses with five or more bedrooms increased by 20% or 79,000 over the same time period.
  • The number of houses with three or less bedrooms has actually declined, as renovations, more often than not, add extra bedrooms.
  • The reasoning behind the increase in detached house size (and more bedrooms) reflects demographics – revisit yesterday’s Missive – but also economics. As land values increase, and building costs remain more subdued, it makes sense to maximise the building component.
  • The usual rule of house value, being 1.5 to 2.0 times the value of the land, still seems to apply. This is what the layman (or parents – the father, typically) used to say to their first home buying child: “Don’t over capitalise!  Never spend more than twice on the house as you spent on the land.”
  • So, today we have a trend of declining land sizes and street frontages, but bigger houses on these smaller allotments.
  • Looking forward, we need to start including even more in this detached building envelope – another generation, maybe three, home offices, flexible spaces, smarter storage, energy efficiency and cars.
  • What to do about the cars? Now, that’s something that needs a lot more thought, as our houses are getting bigger and are holding more occupants and this, for mine, is a trend which is going to hasten.

Next week, lets cover what’s going on (or isn’t) in our townhouse and apartment bedrooms.  Get some shut eye peeps, as next week we could be up late and it might get kinky.

And on hi-rotation this week hasn’t been Charlie Rich, even though I do own a series of compilation CDs called Columbia Country Classics, in which CR features strongly.  No, this week, and in preparation of Sir Paul coming down under, Wings Over America has been getting some serious airplay – and it still sounds as camp as a row of tents!  But I do like Wings.  And to help even it out, plus keeping the 1970s theme, blaring from the car speakers has been Joe Walsh’s latest live release, Rocky Mountain Way (Live in Texas, 1973).  Nearly as good as his You Can’t Argue with a Sick Mind live cut, which for the life of me, I cannot find.  Some thief, or guest, has good taste!

Now, how did they get into that fourth bedroom?

Keen to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,


Michael Matusik


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