The features Americans want in their homes for 2014

Businessweek takes a look at what Americans want in their homes in the new year. Here are a few of the trends:

-Builders says closet sizes have more than doubled in some high-end models from a decade ago. And Pulte Homes notes that walk-in closets are becoming de rigueur for even guest bedrooms.

-Three-bedroom homes accounted for 46 percent of new builds in 2012, down from 53 percent in 2009. Four-bedroom houses have grabbed 41 percent of the newly constructed home market – providing more room for aging relatives or kids who move back.

-The size of U.S. homes is growing again after declining during the recession. The latest government data show the average, newly built U.S. single-family dwelling is 2,505 square feet. That’s within a hair of the 2,521-sq.ft. peak in 2007 at the height of the housing boom.

-About half the added square footage on homes built by Pulte in the past 10 years has gone to storage space. A sign of the times: what Pulte’s director of architecture, Scott Thomas, calls “the Costco room,” a closet near the entrance from the garage that can hold all those jumbo-size packages bought at warehouse stores.

One commentator says this is the “new normal” McMansion. As household sizes have declined and more Americans are living alone, homes aren’t necessarily shrinking (though this is likely skewed by those who have money to buy new homes while the lower end of the market languishes) and people are looking for plenty of storage for all the stuff they own and are buying. So, even if these McMansions might not be as big as some past McMansions or they might be designed better and grenner, it appears consumption is still the name of the game.

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