Size of homes around the world

This via Amfortas:


Perhaps the starkest reminder of that for me was driving into Hebden Bridge to visit friends and those who’ve been there will know you’re virtually in a large and long cutting – more that than a valley.  My road up one side was narrow, with hairpin bends and when I got to the house, it was a narrow parking spot of one car’s length, low stone wall then between you and nice tumble down the valley … but the road was still curving upwards – tricky to pull in and stop dead before going through the wall.

The houses all around on that hill were small boxes almost tent-pegged to the rock.  Less extreme are other, flatter parts – the terraces etc.  Yet those two storeys have surprising area when it’s all totted up.  As for the supposed Australian 206 m2 – hmmmm.

The average Australian home used to be around 12 to 14 squares – family home, with extensions, kids, two cars etc.  Converting to metres at 10.76 sq ft to the m2 and calling a “square” 100 sq ft, that’s 130.1 – call it 130 m2, far short of the claimed 206 m2.  Maybe in Mossman or Toorak, yes but not the average box out there.

Of course, if you then include all the sheds, pergolas, garages [often double], carports etc., that ramps up the area a lot and 206 would not then be out of the question.  America I can well believe at 214, having been in American houses – but not in the poorer areas.

Just for interest’s sake [for my interest anyway], this flat I’m in –  main 12 x 13 [1.56], kitchen 5.5×10 [0.55], hallway 19.5×3.3 [0.64], entrance 5.7×3.4 [0.19], bathroom 9×6.5 [0.59], second 14.5×9 [1.31].  Rounded up, it comes to 4.84 squares or 484 sq ft or  44.98 m2.

Interesting that the sail area of the boat is 538 sq ft or 50 m2.  The boat itself is a bit under 6’10” x 38′ or 255 sq ft [let’s say] or 23.7 m2.  So my boat has an internal, walkable, sittable or lie-able area of well over half of my flat. Hmmmm again.

Over to you.

[PS If there are any errors, it’s because I thought it was 10.79:1 when it’s 10.76:1. Still, it’s near the mark.]

19 comments for “Size of homes around the world

  1. dearieme
    August 11, 2014 at 10:32

    206 m^2 for Oz? Blimey, the houses must be much bigger than when we lived there. Our Adelaide house must have been ca. 150, our Brisbane less than 100.

    • August 11, 2014 at 11:07

      Dead on, I ‘d say. Ours were between 110-130 overall. My own flat was less in town but that was to be expected.

    • dearieme
      August 11, 2014 at 14:08

      Mind you, we did have storage space beneath the house in Brisbane: we were bestumped.

  2. August 11, 2014 at 10:33

    I used to have a small palace in the Huon valley before Mrs Amfortas took it all. 38 squares, not including all the exterior built-ons of patio (x3), verandah etc. (most of which I built !!!) Parking for 4-10 inc a double garage and some incursions into the orchard. All up I guess around 50 sqs. It sat nicely on 3/4 acre half way up the valley side, above the morning fog line. Now I am in a modest rented ‘villa’ of about 12 squares. Not a ‘family’ home as such.

    • August 11, 2014 at 11:24

      38 squares is very much a palace in Oz. I once had a job as a housekeeper and groundsman in Toorak and that place, thinking back, would have been around 50 squares. That was large by Oz stds.

      The property laws in Oz are iniquitous, as regards giving the woman virtually everything and leaving the man destitute. And I did see it at first hand from the other side too, being the other man and she was quite cushy from the deal. He was in some 8 square studio in town apparently, poor bugger. I understand he was not enamoured of me and can ustd why now.

      A man really must think carefully about signing on the line if he has property – she’ll always get the lot. On the other hand, WN2, though she lied and ripped me off in some ways, did not take me to the cleaners as is quite possible in Oz, plus she worked for Family Law. LOL, what chance would I have had?

  3. JD
    August 11, 2014 at 11:41

    You want to know why UK homes are so tiny?
    Because of this man –
    The fairytale woven here by the Daily Mail is entirely false. Barratt was not an accountant for a firm of solicitors, he was a ‘scorekeeper’ for Greensitt Brothers, a very successful local house builder.
    Read the one and only comment to this story-

    • August 11, 2014 at 12:07

      Read that. Ah, so he’s the guilty party?!

  4. wiggia
    August 11, 2014 at 13:55

    They seem to have been shrinking for decades, I was asked to design the landscaping for a development in the late eighties and met the developer on site, we went into the show home to talk it over and it was a little while into our discussion when I realised what I had thought was small, was even smaller.
    This must have been one of the first show homes that needed “small” furniture to maintain an appearance of spaciousness, there were no cupboards or storage at all, there simply wasn’t room, so who knows were anyone put anything, the through lounge had the hall and stairs incorporated, and upstairs (I couldn’t resist a peak) were three bedrooms, the largest 10 x 8 and two smaller, even the bath was a small size.
    I dread to think what they build now, but the upshot of the meeting was a similar small fee offered for the design work, I declined.

  5. dearieme
    August 11, 2014 at 14:13

    We’ve had small (farm labourer’s cottage) and we’ve had large (Georgian top flat in the New Town in Edinburgh). Each had its merits. But if people are prepared to live in tiny properties, that probably makes our current garden more valuable. Trebles all round!

  6. wiggia
    August 11, 2014 at 14:19

    Just a small story that I have referred to in the past, a good friend of mine was a developer, in the eighties property boom I had arranged to meet him in Knightsbridge London at a flat he was finishing before selling and we went on elsewhere.
    He checked a couple of things in the flat and we left as we left I mentioned in passing the story on the front pages of the “broom” cupboard that sold for 110k, he smiled and said do you want to see it, pulled out a bunch of keys and opened a door on the other side of the corridor about 50ft on, this was the fabled “broom” cupboard, he had changed it into a one room des res, I had no idea he had anything to do with it.
    It was not actually a broom cupboard, it had been the janitors store room and was at a guess 12×8 and had a toilet with a descending shower arrangement ? that fitted over the toilet when needed, don’t ask, a sink an electric two ring hob a mini fridge and a let down breakfast/dining board a bed that became a table and a window at each end, bijou did not come into it.
    It sold and sold again, but after the property crash it reverted back to a janitors store, but that was not the end as when prices went up again it once more became a des res, not something you forget !

  7. Rossa
    August 11, 2014 at 14:56

    It’s not just the size of the rooms but also lack of light in some of the rabbit hutches that pass for houses these days. Windows are a lot smaller, staircases narrower, ceilings lower.

    We’re lucky to have a triple aspect, South facing, to our lounge/diner plus light through the half glass front door into full glass inner door and on top of that light into my office next to the lounge and porch. Rooms at the back, kitchen, bathroom and one of the bedrooms are darker for facing North. But we spend less time in them. It’s usually better to view property in winter to see how much natural light there is.

    One big terrace house I viewed that covered 4 floors had ‘borrowed’ light, where a skylight in the roof let in light down into the centre of the house where the staircase was through a series of glass panels set into the floor on each level. Very clever those Victorians were…..

    • dearieme
      August 11, 2014 at 15:39

      You can get the same effect, but even more intense, if you use fibre optics.

      • wiggia
        August 11, 2014 at 16:08

        As with all these things there are drawbacks and limitations.

        The main drawback of HSL is that fiber-optic cables absorb light as it travels down them, so they can carry light energy only for limited distances without amplification. In practice, this means HSL is best used in rooms close to roof level: on the top-floor of a building or in something like a one-story warehouse or grocery store. The technology can bring great savings in places like superstores, schools, public buildings, or offices that use huge amounts of artificial light during daylight hours. In homes, where people use far less artificial lighting in the daytime, energy savings are unlikely to recover the extra cost of the HSL equipment; if you’re looking into using HSL at home, you’ll probably find it makes more sense to invest in skylights, energy-saving fluorescent lamps, or LEDs instead.

        Light wells have similar problems and of course on dull days when you need them they are poor.

  8. August 11, 2014 at 18:52

    Most interesting, I must say. Being involved in all this today – power, light, ventilation, for the boat, I read with great interest, e.g. the fibre optics.

  9. dearieme
    August 11, 2014 at 19:59

    Why not design a photovoltaic sail, Hob?

  10. August 12, 2014 at 08:22

    America does have an advantage. It does experiment with tiny houses more than anyone else in the west. The dreaded ‘regulations’ however are always there to stymie attempts.

    Here are some very tiny home ideas. Little boxes, made not quite from ticky-tacky and not all the same, but if they take off it means human beings pushed further along the battery chicken path.

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