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Death of the 'McMansion': Era of Huge Homes Is Over

• finance.yahoo.com/news/
 
They've been called McMansions, Starter Castles, Garage Mahals and Faux Chateaus but here's the latest thing you can call them - History. In the past few years, there have been an increasing number of references made to the "McMansion glut" and the "McMansion backlash," as more towns pass ordinances against garishly large homes, which are generally over 3,000 square feet and built very close together. What sets a McMansion apart from a regular mansion, according to Wikipedia, are a few characteristics: They're tacky, they lack a definitive style and they have a "displeasingly jumbled appearance." Well, count 2010 as the year the last nail was hammered into the McCoffin: In its latest report on home-buying trends, real-estate site Trulia declares: "The McMansion Era Is Over." Just 9 percent of the people surveyed by Trulia said their ideal home size was over 3,200 square feet. Meanwhile, more than one-third said their ideal size was under 2,000 feet. "That's something that would've been unbelievable just a few years back," said Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia. "Americans are moving away from McMansions." The comments echoed those made in June by Kermit Baker, the chief economist at the American Institute of Architects. "We continue to move away from the McMansion chapter of residential design, with more demand for practicality throughout the home," Baker said. "There has been a drop off in the popularity of upscale property enhancements such as formal landscaping, decorative water features, tennis courts, and gazebos." "McMansions just look and feel out of place today, given the more cautious environment everyone's living in," said Paul Bishop, vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors. And homebuilders are heeding the call: In a survey of builders last year, nine out of 10 said they planned to build smaller or lower-priced homes. Even in Texas, the land of go big or go home, they're downsizing. Diane Cheatham, owner of Urban Edge Developers in Dallas, said today, the average size of home they're building is 2,200 square feet, down from 2,500 in 2005 - which was considered small for Dallas back then. She said the trend there is more toward building green homes instead of big homes. Right now, they're building a 1,200-square-foot uber-green home for a couple that's downsizing from 3,000-square feet, Cheatham explained. 1,200? Some of the hair in Texas is bigger than that!

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Comment by Justen Robertson
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Next up: subdividing McMansions into multiple-family residences. shortly to follow: a strange new chapter in the history of American slums.


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