Countering the suburban McMansion with the city “colossal condo”

Suburban McMansions are known for their size but there is also a recent uptick in the size of condos in New York City:

At the peak of the Manhattan real-estate boom in 2007, the average new condo—from studios to penthouses—was 1,265 square feet. Now, new condos average 1,564 square feet, a 24% increase, said Kelly Kennedy Mack, president of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.

The big condos, increasingly expensive and brimming with high-end details and amenities, are being built in converted garages and walk-ups, as well as part of new, ground-up construction across much of Manhattan…

“In New York, space is the ultimate status symbol,” she said.

Developers say that they are responding to the market—strong demand by the buyers in the upper end of the 1%. The new buyers, say brokers, include international clients looking for investment-grades properties, and local families, who after years of falling crime improving quality of life, want to stay in New York to raise families, or return there when their children head off to college.

Sounds like there is plenty of real estate money in New York City, whether it is for the latest offerings from Toll Brothers, big single-family homes, or large condos. Does this mean there is a bubble coming? Or, as the article goes on to note, what about housing options for the majority of New York residents?

It would be interesting to see how critics of McMansions would respond to these larger condos. Urban dwellings are often assumed to be greener and the average size of the new condo is still a couple of thousand square feet smaller than McMansions. Yet, they are quite expensive, aren’t exactly resource-free to construct, and tend to be within the reach of only a small segment of the population. In the end, are large urban condos and penthouses preferable to suburban McMansions?

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