The Granny Flat as a Possible Solution to Overcrowding

Loft with wooden floor

Housing affordability has been an issue in Australia since the 1980s. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, housing prices and household expenditure increased by about two thirds relative to the income of the average Australian. This made it difficult for would-be homeowners – especially young employees – to break into the property market.

Too Many is a Crowd

One often overlooked result of the affordable housing shortage is a concern that many Australian homeowners are currently facing: overcrowding.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recognise the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) in assessing a household’s crowdedness, the criteria of which is:

– A bedroom should have no more than two people.

– Children of different sexes under age five may share a bedroom.

– Children of the same sex under age 18 may share a bedroom.

– Couples, parents and other household members age 18 and above should not share a bedroom.

Sydney and Melbourne are the states that are most affected by overcrowded living. The Australian media has reports of people sleeping in bathrooms, 58 beds crammed into 19 dirty rooms and ten people in a living unit good for only two. The situation has gotten so bad that people in overcrowded homes are now deemed the ‘invisible homeless’.

Granny Flat Saves the Day

The granny flat is typically seen as additional space to your home, whether it’s for your teen’s retreat space or a dwelling for an elderly parent. Since they are less costly to build, granny flats help many Aussies leave overcrowded units and move into their own homes.

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Because of the housing affordability crisis, state and territory governments across Australia made it easier for homeowners to build granny flats. Granny flats in Sydney, for example, can now become rental spaces for additional income streams. In NSW, the Department of Planning and Environment eased granny flat approvals, allowing more homeowners to live comfortably for a smaller price. Local councils are active in assisting homeowners with building regulations to ensure they are fully compliant with housing laws.

Although broader measures are required to improve affordable housing in Australia, a granny flat brings you one step closer to building your home.