Increasing home sizes on Chicago’s north shore due to little lower end construction?

A North Shore real estate agent finds that new homes of 2013 in North Shore suburbs are bigger than the new homes of 2003:

She continued to say that buyers still basically want everything to be large:  the master bedroom, the garage, mud room, laundry, kitchen, and outdoor spaces.  I decided to do a little checking on newly-built homes in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, and Northfield.

I compared all new homes built in 2003 versus those built in 2013.  Those built ten years ago averaged 4,753 sq. ft and those built last year averaged 5,784.  That is an 18% increase in overall home size.  McMansions rule.

I went a little further and checked living room sizes.  They seem to be shrinking every time I walk into a new home and surely those numbers would be down.  Nope.  The average living room was 187 sq. ft in 2003 and 236 sq. ft in 2013.  That’s an increase of 21% – so much for the long heralded extinction of  living room space.

As for the overall  square footage of North Shore houses, the 5,784 is just an average.  The largest built home had 11,000 square feet and the smallest was 2,300.  So there is still plenty of variety if you are looking for new construction in Winnetka and other North Shore villages.

My guess is that while there is still some range of housing in these suburbs (though 2,300 square feet is not far below the average new home size of around 2,500 square feet), there was less range in 2003 versus 2013. In other words, the lower ends of the housing market haven’t recovered while large homes are still being built. Does this mean McMansions rule? Maybe – if there are enough of them in a concentrated area to be noticeable. But, McMansions can’t be attained by as many people today and they are less in number overall.

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