How the Australian Dream is Changing

June 7th, 2013

The high cost of property is driving many of these changes, with the evolving nature of Australian cities also affecting where people choose to live. ; In an analysis of the latest census data by research firm Macromonitor, only one in five new households formed in Sydney is now detached. ; While detached housing accounted for 69 percent of all new dwellings between 1986 and 1991, it dropped to 35 percent between 1996 and 2001 and is now only 19 percent.

While the stand-alone home complete with backyard once defined the Australian Dream, for one reason or another, people are changing their expectations and accepting a more high-density style of living. ; According to Nigel Hatcher, an economist and director of Macromonitor: ; "It's basically a function of worsening affordability of housing - that forces changes in all sorts of areas," he said. "As housing has become less affordable, and supply has been constrained, people have changed their behaviour and modified their expectations. That means higher density housing and more people living under the same roof."

As Australian culture matures, however, it is also possible to see the disappearance of the backyard in a much more positive light. ; Easy access to arts, sports, and entertainment venues, together with improved public transport is allowing more people to enjoy the benefits of city living. ; While the local climate has always been a factor in how the Australian Dream is defined, the global culture that exists in places like Sydney and Melbourne is helping more people sacrifice the backyard for a different kind of lifestyle.

The inner-city is just one option on the table, however, with people also moving to outer suburban areas that are more self-sufficient and less dependent on city infrastructure. ; The once rare sight of high density developments in suburban areas has become much more common, as have outer parts of the city that do not function as traditional suburbs. ; Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research says, "Nowadays residents of outer-ring suburbs expect amenities close by because they're not travelling to the city all the time."

As the population expands, the Great Australian Dream continues to redefine itself in relation to the needs and expectations of homeowners. ; With housing affordability and planning restrictions forcing many first-home buyers out of traditional suburban areas, both the inner-city and the outer-suburbs are likely to see more growth in coming years.