James Hardie Launches Modern Homes Forecast 2024: A Comprehensive Study of Contemporary Living in Australia


James Hardie, the #1 cladding brand in Australia, launches its first annual research initiative, the Modern Homes Forecast 2024. This forecast represents a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to understanding the lifestyles of Australians and New Zealanders, and how their products can revolutionise the design and construction of modern homes that cater to evolving needs.

Combining desktop research, cutting-edge AI technology, and expert interviews with architects, designers, and key industry journalists, they undertook a significant study of the trajectory of modern home design in Australia, conducted by research experts Fiftyfive5. This analysis led to the identification of key global and local influences that are shaping the contemporary housing landscape now and into the future and the seven distinct Modern Home styles designed to suit our modern lives.

Research on architectural features and exterior and interior design trends was gathered from thousands of individual sources, including more than 28,340 posts from over 200 of the world’s most renowned designers and influencers. This was analysed alongside more than three million search terms.


In examining the housing design landscape, it was necessary to first understand the external drivers of change — the global and local forces that influence the way we want to live, and therefore the direction of residential design.

On a local scale, Australia experienced a profound shift in family dynamics and living arrangements. Couples without children are projected to become the most common family type over the next five years. Moreover, the cost of living and differing cultural influences have prompted people to embrace multigenerational living, with 20 per cent of Australians now residing in multigenerational households.

Regional migration in Australia has increased by 16 per cent from pre-COVID levels, accompanied by a growing dissatisfaction with city living, which rose from 10 per cent in 2020 to 14 per cent in 2023. This migration trend suggests a re-evaluation of lifestyle preferences and a potential resurgence in regional housing demand.

Despite a push back to the office, over 53 percent of Australians are currently working from home, prioritising and upgrading home offices to meet evolving work-from-home needs. This trend reflects the changing dynamics of work and lifestyle choices in response to economic and cultural shifts.

The advent of the digitally native consumer has fostered an explosion of design trends and technology that help create their dream home vision. This technological landscape will see users demanding higher quality products and more choice and flexibility, driving innovation and customisation in housing design.

Climate change concerns see us reconnecting with nature while also needing more resilient buildings. The 2022 National Construction Code (NCC) requires all new Australian houses and apartments to meet an increased minimum energy efficiency rating of 7 stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) or BASIX in New South Wales.

There has been a notable shift towards an experience-driven economy, with many financially prioritising travel and hobbies. This thirst for new experiences, contrasted by economic pressures forcing individuals to spend more time at home, is shaping how homes are designed and utilised.

Amidst these shifts, there's renewed support for local manufacturing, driven by tightening regulations on construction standards. This resurgence emphasises sustainability, quality, and the importance of local economies in shaping housing design practices.

Adapting to these influences will be crucial for architects, designers, and homeowners alike as they navigate the evolving landscape of contemporary living.

The insights in the Modern Homes Forecast 2024 explain why the seven most popular, enduring and emerging Modern Home styles are relevant for the unique geographic and cultural contexts of Australia and New Zealand. They include the popular Box Modern and Modern Coastal, the enduring styles of Mid-Century Modern and Modern Heritage, and the rapidly emerging Modern Farmhouse, Barn and Japandi homes.

To help homeowners articulate exactly what they want and support trade professionals to deliver their clients’ dream modern homes without compromise, James Hardie has produced a series of Design Handbooks, offering comprehensive insights into each of the seven design concepts. These Handbooks showcase design features, material textures, colour palettes, and Hardie™ exterior cladding solutions, empowering homeowners and trade professionals to bring their vision to life.


Research findings were presented at an event hosted by Interior Design expert, Neale Whitaker, and featuring a panel discussion of residential design experts who shared insights on social, economic and environmental influences that are transforming the way Australia builds.

Discover the Modern Homes Forecast 2024 here.

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