One summary of 2011 makes a provocative claim: “How Small Spaces Trumped McMansions.” The problem: the review has little to no evidence to back up this claim.
Here are ways we could know that small spaces really trumped McMansions:
1. Look at the average size of the new American home. This has indeed dropped. But this doesn’t necessarily mean Americans are buying small or tiny houses, just smaller new homes. And McMansions have been on the decline for the last few years, not just in 2011.
2. Look at how many small or tiny homes are sold. I haven’t seen any statistics on this nor do I know if anyone is actually compiling this data.
3. Look at whether there is an increase in media coverage of small or tiny homes. I wouldn’t be surprised if this did happen in 2011 but this means a change in media coverage, not necessarily a shift in people’s actions.
4. Look at what builders say they will be building in the near future. Builders seem to think the trend is downward but again, I don’t think most of them are really building small houses, just smaller.
5. Look at whether small or tiny homes are drawing the attention of our best thinkers about homes (architects, designers, others) and government officials. Perhaps this has happened but some data would be nice.
Overall, we need some more data about this possible trend. I think there is evidence that McMansions have been on the decline but we need more data about small houses.