“McMansion’s” ”“ those sprawling, cookie-cutter homes that dominate suburbia have, according to CNNMoney, dropped in size for the first time in 15 years.
For the first time since 1994, the average square footage of a newly built home is smaller than it was last year. With a median square footage of 2,065 square feet, new homes are 7% smaller than they were at this time last year. That’s about the size of an average bedroom.
So why the “shrinkage”? (so to speak)
Could be lots of things”¦ the economy would certainly seem to be a factor. Energy costs, difficulty in securing jumbo mortgages, an aging population ”“ all contribute.
Maybe people are simply realizing they don’t need big giant homes to enjoy life. I can’t tell you how many 3,500+ square foot homes I’ve seen that look like no human has ever set foot in the upstairs. I’ve seen homes with entire sections basically closed off. What’s the point in paying for, cooling (or heating if you aren’t from around here), and maintaining all that space if it is not going to be used?
We’re getting a lot of clients who are considering “downsizing”. Primarily because of affordability and the empty nest. As one who was born on the tail end of the Baby Boomers, whose kids are in high school, I can attest that the thought of “what are we going to do with all this space once the kids finally get the hell out?” has crossed my mind.
Will it last? Will new homes continue to get smaller? Who the heck knows. Generally speaking we as a culture like our stuff. While bigger is not always better, this tends to be a society that puts a premium on material possessions ”“ big homes, fancy cars and the like. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if new home size starts trending back up once people begin to believe in the economy again.
Only time will tell.
Photo credit: Agritopia. By yours truly.