With Toll Brothers profits up, are McMansions on the comeback?

Marketplace suggests McMansions may make a comeback. Here is some of the evidence:

This hour, the luxury home-builder Toll Brothers said profits in the latest quarter jumped 46 percent over last year. The CEO says he sees recovery across most of the country…

The [New Hampshire] builder says there’s a real difference between what his clients want pre- and post-recession. Before it was family homes — three-, four-car garages…

Spain: And I think today people are more or less getting back to basics. They are just looking to downsize. Single-floor living. And then have moderate finishes to fit their budgets.

It may be back to basics for Spain’s customers, but Fred Cooper with Toll Brothers, one of the nation’s top builders, says that’s not what their clients want.

Fred Cooper: While initial buyers came in thinking maybe they wanted the lower-priced home, they ended up predominately buying the larger one. That’s what they want.

So we may see more McMansions, but Los Angeles architect Buzz Yudell says the funny thing is we won’t see as much of them.

It doesn’t appear clear-cut here. Toll Brothers may have more profits but perhaps this means they have effectively reached certain segments of the housing market. At the same time, the majority of builders might be scaling back a bit and building units for those who have smaller budgets.

This raises an interesting question: at what point could we truly say that McMansions have or haven’t officially 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 at:

1. Like this article does, the fate of luxury builders like Toll Brothers might be the deciding factor. Presumably, a majority of them would see profits. However, these factors could be the result of other factors like builders being more efficient.

2. The square footage of the average new home goes up. This figure did increase this year. However, Australia just passed us again.

3. Perhaps all it takes is public perception. If more people feel like McMansions are being built, this is enough.

3a. A problem with this: perceptions of what constitutes a McMansion could change in the future. In a recession, is a 2,500 square foot home, the size of an average new home now seen as bigger than ten years ago? Or perhaps bigger homes could be more green, thus reducing the stigma of being a McMansion.

Regardless of the options I laid out, I suspect the media will have a fun time debating the comeback and/or death of McMansions for a while now as the term is such a loaded time.

One thought on “With Toll Brothers profits up, are McMansions on the comeback?

  1. Pingback: Wait, “RIP, McMansion” or are McMansions making a comeback? | Legally Sociable

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