Monday, March 17, 2008

Too much house?

Since 1990, construction of supersized homes of 3,000 square feet or more has doubled, to 24 percent of new homes. Combine that with the shrinking size of the American family, and the result is that average floor space per person has grown by three times since 1950.

As the heavy-breathing real estate market reached its zenith, square-footage mania spread from the suburbs into cities, mutating into a doubly wasteful disease: teardown fever. Normal-sized, sound, comfortable houses were demolished to free up urban lots for the biggest, flashiest structures that could be squeezed in.

It is funny when I read these articles cause growing up my parents did not have a huge house (yes I shared a room with my brother until my sister moved out). Even today when I return home for visits (after living in 700 sq ft the past 6 years) my parents house still seems pretty small. Other than the few luxuries (garage, washer/dryer, yard) why do people buy a house that really is just too big for their own needs? I am always impressed by the smaller row houses in Philadelphia and Baltimore because while these houses are not huge (usually 1,000 sq ft) they seem to provide enough space for a couple or small family. Levels seem to work well cause they give you the feeling of more space when the square footage might not be that much.

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