With Affordability High, More Home Owners Supersize

September 28, 2012

With housing prices at their cheapest levels in decades, some buyers are finding it a great time to trade in for that trophy home.

Sales of larger homes have risen in many places in recent months. For example, KB Homes reports a 17 percent increase nationwide in the appetite for larger home sizes. In Sacramento, Calif., large-home sales have surged 24 percent with the average square foot rising to 2,100 in the second quarter compared to less than 1,700 square feet in 2010. 

“Low prices, low interest rates, and the marginally small cost of getting a bigger house are fueling the demand,” reports The Sacramento Bee. “It's sort of like a super-sized drink at a fast-food restaurant; it doesn't cost that much more than a small one, compared to the extra soda you're getting.”

Homes have been getting larger since after World War II, but retreated somewhat during the recession as more households saw their incomes drop, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For example, the average home size in the early 1970s was 1,660 square feet. In 2007, home sizes peaked at 2,521 square feet. During the recession, home sizes shrank slightly to 2,392 square feet but started to rebound in 2011, moving up to 2,480 square feet. 

But as home prices went down in recent years, more buyers who were financially able saw the larger homes as great bargains. 

"It's kind of how we are as a population,” John Orr, president of the North State Building Industry Association in California, told The Sacramento Bee. “We're driven by price. If we can afford the larger car, and we can afford to operate it, we tend to go for it. If we can afford larger homes on larger, more-spacious lots, we tend to go for it, too."

Source: “For Some California Home Buyers, Better Times Mean Bigger Houses,”  The Sacramento Bee (Sept. 27, 2012)