This might be the year you are looking to purchase your first home or up or down sizing your current home. One thing you will need to decide is what size of place should you be looking at. How much square footage do you need? Usually that is not the clarifying question. The question usually is how much can we afford, because bigger is always better right?
Many of us spent our childhoods living in homes under or around 1000 sq. ft? Our parents mostly bought homes for “Life”, the were not upgrading every 5-7 years.
Here is a peak at 1970- 2004
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
So from 1970 to 2004, the average household size (persons) shrunk by 27%, but the average square footage grew by 66%.
Now however home is not always just a home. It is a bed and breakfast for visiting guests, it is a home office or home gym. When my out of town family came to town we slept on the couch or the floor, or they did, we never had a room set aside “in case”. Home office? Gym? Those were restricted to a corner of the basement or the garage.
The“average” person moves every 5- 7 years, typically they are buying up to the next best size or neighborhood. OR at least that is how it has been. Has the tide turned? Are buyers now looking to shop “smarter” instead of bigger? With the economy in an up and down cycle and the housing market only now beginning to regain its footing and start to level off many home buyers are actually looking for smaller, more energy efficient & more cost effective.
Why buy a BIG house and pay BIG taxes, insurance and utilities?
Why not sell your home in that sought after area while the value is high and move somewhere that better suits your needs and your budget?
In 2014, the average size of new houses built increased to an all-time high of 2,690 square feet, and the median size new home set a new record of 2,506 square feet. Over the last 40 years, the average home has increased in size by more than 1,000 square feet.
While the average size of a new US home has increased over the last 40 years, the average household size (people) has been declining over that period, from 3.01 persons per household on average in 1973 to a new record low of 2.54 persons per household in the last few years , a reduction of almost one-half person per household over the last 40 years.
Enter the “Tiny Home Market”. Homes under 600 sq feet, lean mean housing machine. Why? A tiny home can cost under $40,000, most cost under $25. Most Tiny home owners no longer have a monthly mortgage. Taxes and utilities are lower and there is a decreased amount of maintenance. Unlike condos there is no association or condo fee associated with these homes either as they are true single family residence.
Who buys these homes? Mostly people over 50 or people looking to reduce their carbon foot print.
Is this the NEW MARKET? Has the “McMansion” era seen its last hurrah?
Where will the trend turn in the coming years? With a highly contentious presidential election looming and the still uncertain housing market one should remain cautious. NOW is in fact an excellent time to buy while interest rates remain at a historic low however, buying “SMART” should be the plan.
Sustainable – Can you sustain the payments on this home
Manage – Can you manage the maintenance and up keep of this home
Area – It it in an area the suits the needs and activities of my family
Reasonable– Is the price of this home Reasonable an appropriate
Think-Is this my future?
We encourage our buyers to NOT get caught up in the trending multiple offer scenarios we are seeing start to pop up again as it can take them out of their financial comfort zone. Inventory is still low and your purchase might take more time than in years past, have a plan for where to sty in the interm and take your time finding “the one”.
If you continue to watch the national trends of; “Less is More”, Anti-corporate, anti-big business and instead a greater allegiance to the pro little local hardware store, pro corner market and pro area small business you might see that we are also beginning a trend to buying what we REALLY need instead of buying what we need to keep up with the Jones.
One last thing to consider is what happened to our “family life” in these “McMansions” (giant homes)? Everyone had a place to retreat to,no one knowing what anyone else is doing, no more interaction around one television watching the family TV shows. Instead there is a television in EVERY room. Bedrooms are big enough that one can retreat to your room to do homework and never be seen again instead working at the kitchen table were parents could help and also monitor the child’s “activity”during homework time. Right or wrong, agree or disagree this is a conversation you should be having about the size of your next home.
How much square footage do you need in your next home?
There is no right or wrong answer it is what fits the needs for you and your family. As always we just wanted to give you some thoughts to help you gain more Clarity on the matter.