House Trends Leaning to Smaller Homes
Over the years, many a forecaster has predicted the mass downsizing of the American home. Instead, the average size of newly built houses has continued to rise from just over 1,600 square feet in the late 1970s to nearly 2,300 now.
But a number of trends now suggest Americans really might be leaning towards smaller homes now.
For starters, baby boomers, whose eldest members turned 62 this year, are increasingly becoming empty-nesters; with children gone, they need less space. Between 1970 and 2000, the percentage of nuclear families – married couples with kids – declined from 40% of households to 24%, according to the Census Bureau. And childless families are expected to increase. For them, the supersize house may no longer be the ideal.
In a February survey of potential home buyers by the National Association of Home Builders, 60% said they would rather have a smaller house with more amenities than the other way around.
If the trend toward smaller homes does take root, it could trigger a seismic shift in home values. A recent study by online house-pricing service Zillow.com found that less expensive houses appreciate more than costlier and presumably larger homes. If that continues, the large home may turn out to be the real estate bubble’s biggest booby prize.
What are your feelings about this trend? Do you find yourself wanting (or needing) less space than you have now? If you don’t own a home now, are you thinking smaller than you once were in looking for that first home? We’d love to hear your feedback on this. Just click the "comment" link below and tell us where you send house trends going when it comes to size. We’d love to hear from you.