Say Goodbye to This Suburbia Staple

March 10, 2017 | Comments Off on Say Goodbye to This Suburbia Staple

The McMansion—once the popular symbol of prosperity prior to the 2008 recession—may be losing its favor with home buyers.

Suburbs across America once boasted McMansions, “sprawling, mish-mashed homes boasting several thousand square feet,” Business Insider says.

“The pretty and prototypical image of such suburban lifestyle is the seven-bedroom and four-bathroom McMansion with a driveway where three gas-guzzling SUVs are parked (one for dad, one for mom and one for the kids) and a sprawling green lawn that is perfectly manicured with sprinklers spewing hundreds of gallons of water a day,” wrote economist Nouriel Roubini in 2008. “The result was that the U.S. invested too much—especially in the last eight years—in building its stock of wasteful larger and larger homes and housing capital and of larger and larger private motor vehicles.”

But foreclosed McMansions in subdivisions grew during the housing crisis, and they began to lose their appeal.

Premiums paid for McMansions dropped significantly in 85 of the country’s 100 largest cities, according to a study conducted by Trulia, which analyzed McMansions built from 2001 to 2007 with 3,000 to 5,000 square feet of space. For example, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2012, a typical McMansion was valued at $477,000, about 274 percent more than the area’s other homes. In 2017, the McMansion is valued at $611,000, about 190 percent above the rest of the market.

Further, McMansion Hell blog writer Kate, who wished to use only her first name on Inside Business, insists that McMansions mostly were built cheaply in order to squeeze as many amenities inside them as possible. As homeowners now face repairs, they’re looking at trading in their big house for something else, she says.

Let’s be clear, however: Developers are still building big homes, and Americans still like large homes. The average home size continues to grow in square footage: The average square footage of a single-family home was 2,467 in 2015 compared to 1,595 in 1980, according to U.S. Census data.

Yet, Americans’ tastes of what they want in their big houses is evolving. Large Mediterranean-inspired mansions that were popular during the housing crisis are moving more to complex, New England-inspired colonial homes, Kate says.

“No one likes McMansions, ever, but a well-appointed luxury home, on the other hand, is still very popular,” says Tim Gehman, Toll Brothers’ director of design. “Our buyers are savvy buyers. As much as they have different tastes, they also know that they’re buying a commodity, and they’re investing in it. Until the market in general changes its point of view on what is valuable, most are not likely to spend on what they think won’t return value.”

Source: “Americans Could Be Killing the McMansion for Good,” Business Insider (March 6, 2017)


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