Think Americans Are Over the McMansion? Think Again.

Bloomberg Businessweek runs the numbers around new housing starts since the recession. Some thought we were giving up the infamous “McMansions:” giant, unnecessary houses that people typically cannot afford. It turns out our love of huge boxes  has not abated:

The peak size for new homes was an average of 2,521 square feet in 2007. By 2010 it was down to 2,392. That statistic fed into a slew of stories about the “new frugality.” A survey of builders conducted in December 2010 by the National Association of Home Builders predicted that the shrinkage would continue, with the average getting down to 2,152 by 2015.

But then a funny thing happened. In 2011, according to the Census Bureau, the average ticked up a bit, to 2,480 square feet.

That’s partly because mortgages were so hard to get that only the well-to-do, who buy bigger houses, were able to buy new homes in 2011, according to Stephen Melman, the director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders. But it could also be that the “new frugality” story was somewhat oversold.


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