CANBERRA: Australia has overtaken the United States, the heartland of the McMansion, to boast the world's largest homes, according to a report by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Research commissioned by the bank's broking arm, CommSec, shows the Australian house has grown on average by 10 percent in the past decade to 214.6 square metres (2,310 sq ft) — nearly three times the size of the average British house.

By contrast, the average size of new homes started in the United States in the September quarter was 201.5 square metre (2,169 sq ft), down from 212 sq m (2,282 sq ft), with the average US home shrinking for the first time in a decade due to the recession.

In Europe, Denmark has the biggest homes, which takes into account houses and flats, with an average floor area of 137 square metre, followed by Greece at 126 square metre, and the Netherlands at 115.5 sq m. Homes in Britain are the smallest in Europe at 76 sq m. But according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistic issued by CommSec, while Australian houses are getting bigger, so are the families.

The number of people in each household has risen to 2.56 from 2.51, the first such rise in at least 100 years.

"It makes sense. Population is rising, as is the cost of housing and the cost of moving house, so we are making greater use of what we've got," CommSec's Craig James said in a statement widely reported in the Australian media.

"Children are living at home longer with parents and more people are opting for shared accommodation ... Generation Y is already baulking at the cost of housing, choosing to stay at home longer with parents."