The “biggest and the bestest” diminishes in size
The “New American Home” is shrinking.
Every year at its convention, the National Association of Home Builders highlights the New American Home, a high-end model designed and built to capture emerging trends in residential building and the shifting lifestyles of Americans.
This year’s showpiece, which measures 4,181 square feet and is one of the smallest in the popular program’s 29-year history, shows that the love affair with McMansions seems to be waning.
Indeed, last year’s featured home sprawled over 6,800 square feet. The nation’s average home size, which peaked just above 2,500 square feet in 2007, is expected to shrink to 2,152 square feet by 2015…
The showpiece, described as a modern take on the classic “boxes” of the 1960s and ’70s, has two bedrooms, and features additional rooms that could house parents or boomerang kids — those moving back home because of the weak economy. It also boasts energy-efficient features such solar panels to run the HVAC system and to heat hot water.
This year’s builder decided to keep the house as a showcase for clients…instead of offering it for sale. And it is great to see sizes starting to come down to match good sense instead of market agitprop.
The “New American Home” has to be larger than life because the intent is to show off the best of everything. Cripes, the last NAHB Show I attended the house on display was up over 8,000 sq.ft.. And that year I worked on a couple houses – including a vacation “cottage” – that were in the 24,000 sq.ft. range!
I’m retired, now – my wife will be, sooner or later – and we live in <1400 sq.ft. with room for dogs as companions and 1 room leftover as a spare.