So here’s a secret that’s been well kept … buyers want small houses! I don’t know if the buyers have not told the builders – or the builders just aren’t listening. But since the end of the “Great Recession,” buyer preferences, tastes and wallets are now trending from McMansion to McSmall.
Here’s another secret … this is not “new” news. In 1998, Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big House, published the first in a series of books about living small. She designed a whole line of homes that value quality over quantity and emphasize comfort, beauty and a high level of detail.
Sound familiar? These are the same features builders have been putting into large, luxury homes for years. All they need to do now is shrink them. Not to worry – there are tons of plans out there that have taken the best parts of the monsters we’ve been building and left what is important to today’s buyer.
If you think this is a trend just for “the old folks” (which includes me), not at all. Younger buyers would love nothing better than to stop renting, but still have all the niceties that they have in their 1,000-square-foot apartment, including a great location. While it’s obvious that older buyers want to down size, they are not willing to sacrifice quality and key components to their home.
The adage of “what goes around comes around” is apt for the small home trends of today. When the housing boom began in the 1950′s, the average home had 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a living room and a kitchen with a dining area. We raised millions of families in this size home and we are heading back to that same size. With better designs and modern niceties, the basic plan still works.
Is bigger still better in housing? Today, living large means living smaller, with everything from cars to computers shrinking in size. So there’s no doubt in my mind that the next “big thing” in housing will be accordingly, smaller.