I’ve suspected this for quite a while: here is some evidence Americans have moved past purchasing large homes, McMansions if you will, and are instead paying more for the finer touches in their homes.
Beginning next month, Majestic Building Products, a longtime wholesale supplier to companies such as Pulte Homes and Marriott International, is opening its showroom to the public.
Owner Jeff Jenkins said he is expanding the Leesburg-based company to keep up with growing demand for more-customized fixtures — ranging from bathroom mirrors to closet shelves.
“The whole philosophy has changed,” said Jenkins, who founded the company in 1989. “Ten years ago, everybody was out buying McMansions. People don’t care about having an 8,000-square-foot house anymore. They’re more interested in upgrading the little things.”
Those little things — door hinges, towel holders and shower doors — bring in about $9 million in annual revenue for the company. Jenkins said he expects sales to rise an extra 20 percent in the next year.
This could be viewed as a positive sign by those who decry the purchase of unnecessarily large homes: more Americans are paying attention to the interiors of their homes and making them enjoyable. Instead of focusing on size and its impressiveness and functionality, customizing the fixtures allows owners to focus more on their own personal interests and develop a home that more closely reflects their own tastes. This could be viewed as a shift away from mass-production to owners taking more responsibility and interest in their own settings.
On the other hand, focusing on the fixtures simply transfers the consumption from the larger issue of the home to the innumerable upgrades that could be made within a home. Think granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hundreds of floor options, faucets, paint colors, and on and on. Plenty of money is still being spent on housing but instead of it going for new homes, it goes into new furnishings. As the article suggests later, the company is opening their showroom in part to help counter the fluctuations of the housing market and ensure a steady revenue stream. Can’t purchase the bigger or newer home you dream about? Instead, put that money into your current setting.
If this is all the case – and there is plenty of evidence that the new housing market is still sluggish – this hints at a possible large shift in American housing. Rather than being driven by housing starts and new development, perhaps the future in a tighter economic market is in premium fixtures and more customization of existing homes to the tastes of their current owners.