“McMansions making a comeback”!

Several sources picked up on the latest data from Trulia that suggested more Americans are interested in bigger homes. With a headline of “McMansions Are Making a Comeback,” here is what US News & World Report said:

After greed and excess torpedoed the housing market a few years ago, Americans understandably began favoring more modest homes instead of pricey palatial abodes.

But it seems old habits die hard.

Reverting back to a “bigger is better” mentality, interest in mega-mansions 3,200 square feet and larger has almost doubled from a year ago, according to new data from real estate website Trulia. About 11 percent of today’s house hunters say they want their own McMansions, up from just 6 percent last year…

About 16 percent of those surveyed said their ideal home was in the 2,600 to 3,200 square feet range, but according to listing data from Trulia, homes currently on the market skew much smaller, with only 10 percent of homes listed falling within that range. Nearly 60 percent of homes listed are 2,000 square feet or smaller, which means many house hunters’ hopes will be disappointed.

More from the Wall Street Journal as architects are also noting the trend:

Big homes are back in style.

That’s the headline from the American Institute of Architects’ first-quarter Home Design Trends Survey set to be released Thursday. Eight percent of the 500 architecture firms responding say square footage of homes increased in the first quarter, up from 5% a year ago. This change, the biggest year-over-year jump since the survey started in 2005, ends a multiyear march toward smaller homes driven by the housing implosion…

But today’s buyers are different from those seen during the buy-as-big-as-you-can boom. “People don’t want bigger homes just to have bigger homes,” says Steve Ruffner, present of the Southern California division for KB Home, one of the nation’s largest home builders. “Buyers show up with calculators. They actually calculate cost per square foot. They really understand what they’re getting for the money.”

Interestingly, 45% of architects reported more interest in single-story homes, up from 35% a year ago. The result is the largest percentage since 2005, according to the AIA. During the easy credit housing boom, builders quickly inflated home sizes to generate more profit. An easy way to do that was to tack on a second – or third – floor, making single-stories hard to come by in some communities. While more of today’s buyers seek more space, they don’t necessarily want to deal with stairs. Aging boomers are also more likely to seek a one-story address.

We will see how this plays out. Of course, the story is more complex than “Americans want bigger homes again” or “the housing recovery has begun.” And it will be fascinating to watch how these new, larger homes are marketed and perceived: if buying a McMansion is really a moral choice, can there really be a good defense for such a purchase?

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  1. […] made a comeback? Who gets to decide this? We’ve heard this before – see these two examples from earlier this year. A few signs we could look […]

  2. […] These experts suggest that older adults and the younger generations are looking for smaller, more urban homes. But how does this line up with recent figures that suggest big homes are being built and sold? […]

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