Consumer Choice: New Homes are Shrinking

by Craig Ranch - October 25th, 2010.
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When it comes to housing, the years of “super-sizing” appear to have come to an end. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the size of new single-family homes completed last year declined. After peaking in 2007 at an average of 2,521 square feet, the average size of single-family homes completed in 2009 was 2,438 square feet—almost 100 square feet smaller. New homes built in Craig Ranch are no exception. Craig’s Ranch, a gated master planned community located in McKinney TX offers every size and style new home from single-family homes, townhomes, luxury condos and estate homes.

It appears that the economy is not the only factor driving this trend; consumers have decided that bigger is not necessarily better for a variety of reasons.

“We also saw a decline in the size of new homes when the economy lapsed into recession in the early 1980s,” said David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. “The decline of the early 1980s turned out to be temporary, but this time the decline is related to phenomena such as an increased share of first-time home buyers, a desire to keep energy costs down, smaller amounts of equity in existing homes to roll into the next home, tighter credit standards and less focus on the investment component of buying a home. Many of these tendencies are likely to persist and continue affecting the new home market for an extended period.”

Families have discovered that while larger homes may offer greater privacy and room for “stuff,” along with that comes increased isolation. Smaller homes encourage more shared family time—and because smaller homes are easier to maintain, that family time is spent on enjoyable activities and interactions rather than chores.

Gayle Butler, editor-in-chief of Better Homes and Gardens, says that the trend is not so much downsizing as it is right-sizing, with people opting away from large homes with unused space to smaller homes that better fit their needs. When the magazine surveyed 733 potential new-home buyers, 32 percent said they expected their new home to be either somewhat smaller or much smaller than the one they already live in.

Builders in Craig Ranch are paying attention and are offering a choice of smaller homes that are efficient and designed for today’s lifestyles, with flexible spaces, natural light, and comfortable family gathering places.

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