By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
After five years of downsizing, home owners are showing a desire for more space. In the past year, builders are reporting higher demand for larger homes.
In fact, 84 percent of home owners between the ages of 18 and 59 say they have no intentions of downsizing–even among Baby Boomers who often show preferences to downsize during retirement, according to a recent survey by PulteGroup of about 500 home owners. Many home owners–particularly younger generations–are saying they need more space than what they currently have.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
We’ve been hearing a lot about the downsizing trend taking hold in new homes, and that the square footage of homes is shrinking. But if you look at the latest housing stats from the Census Bureau, you might be scratching your head on that theory.
New-home sizes are actually increasing, an unexpected find that at first had a lot of people in the housing industry a little stumped. Home buyers are asking for smaller homes, not larger homes, according to field reports from those in the real estate industry. So what gives?
First off, let’s keep this in perspective: New-home sizes only grew by 88 square feet last year. But this marked the first year in four years that the average square foot of homes has grown, according to Census data. Homes in 2011 were 2,480 square feet compared to 2,392 square feet in 2010.
“Why was this happening when most people want smaller homes, want to downsize?” Rose Quint, assistant vice president for survey research at the National Association of Home Builders, told MSNBC.com. “This is exactly so counterintuitive to what we know is happening on the ground.”
The latest stats show that new-homes actually seem to be getting supersized, not downsized: Nearly 40 percent of new single-family homes in 2011 had four or more bedrooms, 28 percent had three or more bathrooms, and 54 percent of new homes were two stories or taller.
But housing analysts say there are several possible reasons for the disconnect in what home buyers are increasingly saying they want nowadays — which is small homes — and the bigger home size numbers.