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This Decade’s Trends in Home Sizing

This Decade’s Trends in Home Sizing

Gone are the days of sprawling McMansions–tiny homes are taking off as people begin to value experiences over material things. The single-family home size is trending downwards and shows no sign of stopping. What will the average space look like in 10 more years? What does this mean for future homebuyers and those who have large homes they intended on selling? 

An off the grid tiny home from New Atlas

The average home size in America is now around 1600 square feet, whereas most other first world countries are usually below 1,000. Why are American homes so big, and what effect does it have on the family? It’s not because America has more land. Russia is huge and their houses are still much smaller. It’s not even because of the invention of the suburbs–older suburban houses were usually below 1,000 feet, on par with other countries. It has more to do with outsourcing labor. The cost of building materials has dramatically decreased. That, with an obsession about “newness”, causes more people to build a house rather than buying an existing one. Low tax rates compared to other countries gives the illusion of more wealth. 

Larger is seen as better in America. A large house is seen as more valuable even if it is built in poor quality with inexpensive materials. Marketing and advertising has caused people to believe they can afford more space than they need. After the 2008 housing crisis people began to realize home prices were dramatically inflated, leading many to downsize. Facing an uncertain future still today, many are seeing the appeal of buying a small, secure home.

Gen Z is painfully aware of the reality of their economic situation. With inflation and the rising cost of education, they won’t be able to afford a house for years. There has been a shift in what defines wealth for them–they feel less need to have an oversized home and instead would like to be secure financially so they can travel and have fun. They are also less likely to live in the suburbs, leaving them in smaller city apartments. They value access over excess. 

A converted school bus home: The Wild Drive

Families are becoming more complex. It’s no longer a mother, a father, and 2.4 children. Families are racially, religiously, and socially more diverse than ever. This leads to atypical housing arrangements and needs. These changes are leading to new home layouts–for example, many people are forgoing a dining room and instead putting in studios or work-from-home offices. 

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Using this information, how do you select the right home for your needs? The first and biggest thing to think about is location. You need a lot less space than you realize–choose to invest in a house that is really close to schools, recreation, and necessities. The suburbs are nice to be spread out away from everyone (especially in a post-COVID environment) but you don’t want to have to drive a half-hour to get to everything. Positioning yourself directly outside of an urban area is a good way to get the benefits of both places. 

Next, how many rooms are you really going to need? Can you repurpose one space into another? Check out our articles for fixing up your garage and carving out separate areas in smaller homes. Are you going to want to garden, or is a townhouse with landscaping more your style? Can you opt for a more affordable home so you can renovate to your wildest dreams? Maybe you don’t even want a stationary home. Many are choosing to attach tiny homes to trailers in order to travel. The beautiful thing about our changing world is the way the internet now connects us–with work and school online, nothing is holding you back. Choose experience over material. 

Muhammed Sajid
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