Urban Fold

Bigger Incomes, Bigger Homes, Less Satisfaction

Americans are buying bigger homes and on average, to house fewer people. Ironically, their satisfaction in housing choice has eroded somewhat over the last twenty years.

"More people will buy bigger even if they don’t need it," says staff of the Urban Land Institute. "The last three decades have seen homes grow simply because they can. From 1975 to 2005, the average size of a new singleâ€"family home grew by 48 percent, according to the Census Bureau's 2005 survey of new housing, released this summer."

The research into three decades of housing data reveals "the desire to trade up has been fueled by the growth in personal income in the 1990s. That put more shoppers in a position to afford bigger homes."

ULI's senior fellow for housing, John McIlwain considers the selection of larger homes consistent with Americans’ out-sized choices in other areas --"cars…TV sets…hamburgers," and the tendency does not just affect single-family homebuyers. "Units in multi-family buildings are bigger too."

Thanks to D. A. Varnado, AICP

Full Story: Hefty appetite for super-size homes

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