Claudia and I own a big house. We own a massive house. It wasn’t that big when we moved into it a couple of months ago, and we haven’t done any extensions. We’re painting. Yes we (as in Claudia and I) are painting it, and with every room we paint the house seems to get bigger and bigger. I’m not the world’s best handyman, although I can bang a nail in the wall to hang photos with amazing competency, so this paint job has proved to be a big job and a big learning curve. Especially as I’m less competent at home maintenance than my wife.
Claudia and I looked for a house for quite a while. We knew that we couldn’t live comfortably in our old 2 bedroom townhouse for too long and proved ourselves correct when our little chicken was born in January. With all the baby crap that we needed the place very quickly became cramped.
In terms of square metres, our house is not that big. At 1502 metres it’s not small, but it’s certainly no mansion. When we were searching for a house we did a lot of looking around at places that ranged in size, starting from about 1202 metres for a house in an established suburb. But looking around the new places in display villages was a real eye opener.
The houses currently up for offer as house and land packages are, to put it lightly, friggin’ huge. Finding places smaller than 2002 metres is hard, blocks larger than 4002 metres are uncommon, and two and three bedroom houses are as rare as a smiling emo. The average house in a display village is a 4 or 5 bedroom energy sucking monster with space for 3 large plasma tellies. Some of the houses for sale even show you where you can put all these TVs. With bugger all yard, it worries me that the future generations of Aussies will contain no decent cricketers (Bangladesh is counting on this).
Walking around these display homes it quickly becomes apparent how many first home buyers there are looking at buying large houses. One place we were in had a couple asking the salesperson if the display furniture could be sold with the house as well. It got me thinking that the size of the mortgages of the average display home buyer would match the floor size of the building being purchased. A hell of a way to start your life as a couple or with a young family.
It seems to be the case that many first home buyers are looking to buy a house that has everything that the home they grew up in had – lots of bedrooms, large living areas, large car accommodation, etc. What many first home buyers overlook is that if their parents ended up in a place like that, chances are they started in a smaller, more modest house that was extended over the years to fit a growing family.
It may seem great to live the great Australian dream in a big house in the first place you buy, but somehow you have to pay off the great Australian mortgage.
And some time down the track, a big house has to painted again.