It’s not just the prices that are out of control [in New Zealand]. The very sizes of the homes being built in this torrid market are being pulled this way and that by two opposing trends – a demand for bigger and bigger houses and a movement favouring smaller and smaller houses.
Those aspiring to mansion ownership may be misguided, according to Home magazine editor Jeremy Hansen, because they are designing not for their daily lives but “for special occasions. They picture themselves on Christmas day with their 25 favourite family members at an enormous dining table. That happens once a year at most – but they want bedrooms for all those people as well.”
He quotes the story of a couple in dispute with their architect over two extra bedrooms which they wanted and he didn’t, just so all of their children could stay there at the same time – in the unlikely event that ever happened. When they realised that for the price of those rooms they could take the whole family on holiday to Fiji instead … they took the whole family on holiday to Fiji.
The sheer cost of housing is one of the drivers of the micro-house movement, big in the United States and slowly catching on here.