The West

WA stuck on home on  block
The dream: WA homebuyers want the traditional house on a block. Picture: Supplied

The blocks may no longer be a quarter acre but West Australians are reluctant to give up on the traditional homeowner dream, with a report showing the State is bucking the national trend towards higher density living.

While the rest of Australia has gravitated towards units, townhouses and semi-detached properties, WA was the only State where the proportion of medium-density dwellings fell last year, according to a Bankwest report.

At the same time, Perth blocks were getting smaller and more expensive, with the price of land the most expensive in Australia.

In WA, 20 per cent of home approvals in the 12 months to October last year were for medium-density approvals compared with 22.6 per cent in 2012. The ACT had 68 per cent, followed by the Northern Territory (67.2 per cent) and NSW (56.4 per cent).

Planning Institute of Australia WA president Charles Johnson said the report findings were "somewhat disappointing".

"You also need to focus on the size of dwellings and not just numbers," Mr Johnson said.

"Since 2006, the trend has been for a general decrease in the percentage of one and two-bedroom dwellings and an increase in the percentage of dwellings with four or more bedrooms.

"This is an undesirable trend if we are considering the need to accommodate an ageing population and increasing numbers of single-person households."

Bankwest executive general manager retail Mark Reid said WA likely lagged the rest of the country in medium-density housing because its smaller population allowed it to - for now.

"I think the dream of owning a stand-alone house is not dead but it's certainly slowing," he said.

Separately, Housing Industry Association figures showed the median block size in Perth was now a record low 423sqm compared with 446sqm a year ago and 508sqm in 2008.

As blocks have shrunk the price of land has gone up, with Perth land selling at $591sqm - the most expensive in Australia.

The West Australian

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