23 Jul Floorplans Are Still Shrinking

Row of miniature houses

Newly built homes are continuing to shrink, this according to NAHB’s analysis of recent U.S. Census Bureau data about newly built homes.

In 2007, home sizes peaked at an average of 2,500 square feet during the big industry boom. Sizes then flat lined in 2008 and then in 2009 sizes began to shrink. The average home has lost approximately one bedroom over the last two years. That is approximately 83 square feet.

I think we all understand that home sizes are changing for a couple of reasons. Is the only reason because of the financial woes that most Americans are facing? Many experts think so and believe that Mcmansions will return when the economy returns. I disagree.

I believe that an increasing interest in sustainable living and a reduction of emissions is also playing a major role in the shrinking sizes of new homes especially for the younger buyer.

There are other reasons for the rising demand for smaller homes. Builders are starting to realize that the buyer isn’t interested in wasted space. Demand has shifted from the “largest” to the “best value”. While floorplans are shrinking, the demand for features is growing. Features such as energy saving features, home office, better cabinetry, and entertainment rooms are becoming more important than size. Whirlpool and sauna tubs are a real seller for the Gen y group!

Experts are predicting that a recovering economy will not result in a boom in newly built homes or at least not anytime soon. Obviously, there is really no real way to predict consumer demand but all signs point to a demand for sustainability. This of course means smaller homes that are more energy efficient and incorporate more features. I believe the questions of the future will not be size, big or small, but is the architecture and the features different enough to convince the consumer to buy it. I heard an interesting speaker today who said architectural changes always result from economic downturns so we are due for some fresh architecture!

I do think that consumers are starting to understand the money that can be saved with smaller homes. It will be interesting to see what we want as a nation once the economic recovery takes off. Will we hold on to our new green principles or will we be striving for that extra square footage? It will be interesting to see how a new genertion of buyers who does not see the “need” to own a home affects size, features, price and our industry as a whole.

Sibet B Freides