In the midst of what remains the worst real estate collapse in modern U.S. history, there is perhaps some contradictory evidence out there of just how much the American citizen’s view of the ideal home may have changed during all of this upheaval.
For example, noted real estate search engine and information source Trulia (www.trulia.com) is citing data that points to an overall decline in both the actual median homes size of the American home, as well as in the claimed ideal size cited by the American consumer; roughly one-third of Americans say that their ideal home size is under 2,000 square feet, when just a few years ago the average American pegged his ideal average home size at just over 3,000 square feet.
However, there appear to be some pockets of resistance to the trend toward smaller, which leads me to wonder just how large those pockets might ultimately be. Several home builders, including Meritage Homes and Toll Brothers, are seeing real demand in, of all places, the terribly hard-hit region of Central Florida for houses well in excess of 3,000 square feet. Although the builders are claiming that the new homes are designed to accommodate the wishes of buyers seeking more intelligent use of the space, the end result is still “bigger.”
So, which is it?
I don’t care. In a world where, ideally, people are required to completely pay for their new houses, I don’t care (I say it in this way to distinguish from a world where I am required to, at least partly, indemnify the foolish gambles and excesses of others). Why should I care? I despise class envy, which is the underlying issue in much of the anti-McMansion rhetoric, and a return to substantial construction activity on the basis of genuine demand in the residential housing sector can hardly be considered a bad thing. That I personally feel better in and amongst a minimal number and size of physical trappings does not mean others should. Have at it, my fellow Americans.
Just don’t ask me to pay for it.
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Bob Yetman, Editor-at-Large at Christian Money.com (www.christianmoney.com), is an author of a variety of materials on personal finance and investing, as well as on topics of fitness and self defense, to include the recently-released book Investor's Passport to Hedge Fund Profits (John Wiley & Sons, Inc; www.investorspassport.com) and the new unarmed combat training DVD Thunderstrikes – How to Develop One Shot, One Kill Striking Power (Paladin Press; www.mikereevesonline.com).