Comment of the Day: New Homes Have Been Growing Bigger for Less

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NEW HOMES HAVE BEEN GROWING BIGGER FOR LESS Large House“The funny thing is that back in the 1930s, people actually needed more space than they do today. The average size of a household in the 30s was just over 4 people. It has shrunk to ~2.5 today (although some rich folk do breed like rabbits for some reason). In the olden days, people would have large libraries of books. Now, all that can be kept on an iPad or kindle. People used to have large record collections and “hifi” stereos that were their own pieces of furniture. Now, you can store all your music on your phone and plug it into a massive sound system that is completely built into the wall of each room. Same goes for a TV set. I remember my mom chewing me out for leaving my soda cans on top of the old RCA because it left a ring on the wood. Now, the TV hangs on the wall and is just a few inches thick. Rich folk today do like to have a closet full of clothes that look like a small version of a high end retail clothing store. But today, most people, even rich folks, dress casual all the time. Back in the 30s, 40s, 50s, etc., people would dress up to ride on a plane, men would wear suits all the time, and women would have a collection of hats in large hat boxes to fill up the closet. But houses just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger as people have fewer reasons for living in such huge houses.” [Old School, commenting on Daily Demolition Report: Lakes Out] Illustration: Lulu

13 Comment

  • Totally disagree. Have you been in a modern house lately? There is an extra, formal dining room set in a dedicated room. There is mow a home office with its own furniture. Kitchens are much larger and open to accomodate entertaining, and because of AC do not need to be separated to keep the heat out of the rest of the house. Toys and accessories for children are huge and more numerous than in the past. TVs are smaller, but there are more of them. Garages are no longer one car, but three car and up for more drivers and cars owned by a typical family. Get real.

  • I disagree with your disagreement. Like the author said homes are getting bigger for fewer people the only thing you said right was about the cars but, butbthe author is talking about the need for so much space…all your saying is their big just because of all the luxuries that people try and unsuccessfully fill them with. Your just disagreeing To disagree

  • Frankly, I love my two walk-in closets in my master bedroom.

  • People who can afford to buy new single-family houses tend to be the kind of people that have the wherewithal and predisposition to accumulate a lot of stuff. Hence, what is getting built reflects the preferences of people that are buying. (Notably, single-family housing has been getting bigger while multifamily has been getting smaller.)

    Also… George Carlin: A Place for Your Stuff

  • i think there’s an element of square foot status in a lot of home purchases in new urbania…a lot of these people don’t buy place to raise families but to raise eyebrows.

  • Houses evolve. In the 1930s, more people were still living in rural houses that contained extended, multi-generational families than today. Those were very large, but could contain many people. Many had already migrated to work in factories in the cities, and their houses tended to be much smaller than what we have today, although the area/person wasn’t much different than it had been in rural homes. The 1950s saw an explosion of mass produced suburban single family houses, and those have gradually been increasing in size as the economy (and co-evolving financial instruments) have allowed.

  • My favorite place to have lived so far was a <700 sqft Craftsman-style bungalow built in the thirties. I shared it with one other guy. The fact that I was in college with all my friends either living on the same lot or nearby surely had the most to do with it. But still, it struck me that a couple could comfortably raise one child in the house before moving up (to 1200 sqft or something).

    Proportion, modesty, and community are more important than sheer square footage or fancy sink fixtures. Honestly, hulking, dysrhythmic houses built straight up to the lot line are just trashy. Good neighborhoods trying to maintain property values will try to prevent their construction for this reason.

  • Studies…. Seriously, unless you work from home, who wants to have an f-ing study? I work at work. The last thing I want at home is another place to sit behind a desk/computer. I don’t need a study to pay some bills or file my taxes once a year.

  • people like space and there’s statistically relevant correlations to positive emotional and biological responses. if you can afford it then of course why not. however, houses are getting bigger while the homeownership rate is decreasing and unaffordability indexes are increasing. like the Niche said, you can see this in town and other large cities where apartments are shrinking. welcome to the world of inequality.

  • Wow, people are just toppling over trying to take down OldSchool’s point.

  • Our section of Oak Forest has a lot of couples and singles without children (childless by choice or already grown children) moving in or staying put when kids are gone. We aren’t zoned to OF Elementary, though, so that probably has something to do with it. Nearly all the new remodels open up the shared living space from what was once a separate kitchen, dining room and living room into a single space. Maybe everyone thinks they will be entertaining large groups of people frequently.

    Everyone also has pets (usually one or more dogs and cat or 2), though, maybe that is new driver of homeownership.

  • Progg, working from home is a great option. Who wants to spend 30-40 minutes driving to work? It provides a lot of flexibility for people I know. Bad rain storm? WFH. Gotta go to the doctor during the day? WFH. Need a break from office politics? WFH. The possibilities are endless.

  • Fernando, I guess you didn’t read the part where I said “unless you work at home”. It’s in the first line. I suggest more reading, less writing, for you.