Yes, according to the National Association of Home Builder’s “The New Home in 2015″ survey results.
When asked what trends they foresee for this year and into the future, 74% of the home builders, residential architects and designers, and others involved in new home construction predicted that new homes will get smaller, while 68% believe they’ll get “greener.”
The majority of respondents believe the average new home will shrink another 10% – down to 2,152 square feet. This is still a far cry from the average of 1,500 square feet in the mid-70’s – or the 600 square foot bungalows of the early 20th century.
The primary reason for both of these predictions seems to be that consumers are giving a more realistic look to housing. Instead of focusing on all the features they want, they’re considering what they need. They’re also taking a more conservative view when it comes to spending money.
Consumers bent on practicality are now shunning “extra” rooms such as media and hobby rooms, mud rooms, and dining rooms. They’re also seeking homes with “great rooms,” which combine spaces for living, working, entertaining, cooking, and eating.
Larger rooms and fewer walls help reduce the cost of building a new home while providing a sense of living in a much larger home than the footprint would indicate.
A second factor driving the trend toward smaller homes is the large population of empty nesters and baby boomers who wish to downsize.
An interesting side effect of this trend could be more family togetherness. Research shows that in the past 30 years or so the average family size shrunk by 25% while home size increased 50%. It became more common for family members to each have their own private domain, complete with TV, computer, stereo, and work space. Thus, they began to spend less time together. Could smaller homes reverse this trend?
While it is encouraging to note that consumers want to go green, it appears that the reasons are more financial than environmental.
They’re looking for energy saving features that give an immediate financial payback. For instance, low-E windows, water-efficient fixtures, and Energy Star Home ratings. Energy saving features that would increase the green quotient of a new home but cost considerably more up front and come with longer payback periods are not popular choices.
What do you say?
Is 2,152 a square foot home about the right size? Or not?