McMansions are out as a new era of practicality begins in housing

McMansions are out, like this one in what looks like the southwest

McMansions are out as homebuyers seek smaller, more practical homes in the aftermath of the housing crisis. lisachamberlain/flickr photo.

McMansions are out. Count this symbol of American excess, waste and poor taste as another casualty of the housing crisis. New research is showing that large, rambling, expensive homes packed close together in cul de sacs have fallen from grace. Some McMansions that were thrown up in haste by greedy builders in the past few years lie abandoned. Others looming large and out of place with the houses around them are considered a blight on neighborhoods. People building new homes are opting for much smaller floorplans. Realtors and architects believe the sentiment that McMansions are out  is more than just a passing real estate trend.

Housing bubble bursts the McMansions era

McMansions — also known as “starter castles,” garage mahals and faux chateaus — may have reached their peak during the housing bubble. Now that the housing bubble has burst, the decline of McMansions could be permanent. Time reports that Trulia has released a report on real estate trends that said the average square footage of an American home is decreasing for the first time in 60 years. The average size of a home in America was 983 square feet in 1950, according to Trulia’s American Dream Survey. By 2004 the average had swelled to 2,349 square feet. Another study, the Truila-Harris interactive survey, found that only 9 percent of people polled were looking for homes of at least 3,000 square feet that are considered McMansions. A majority of the housing market, 64 percent of buyers, sought homes from 800-2,000 square feet.

McMansions a symbol of ugly America

A McMansion, according to Wikepedia, is a large new house considered pretentious, tasteless or designed out of character with its neighborhood. The term compares these bland homes often built with substandard construction and lack of style to mass-produced meals. McMansions typically have a floor plan covering more than 3,000 square feet, ceilings 9-10 feet high, at least a three-car garage and numerous bedrooms and bathrooms. The house takes up most of the lot, leaving little room for a yard or garden.

Housing market comes to its senses

People in the housing industry think the downsizing trend in the housing market is here to stay. Pete Flint of Trulia told CNBC that smaller square footage is a long term effect. In a survey of builders last year, nine out of 10 said they planned to build smaller or lower-priced homes. Kermit Baker, the chief economist at the American Institute of Architects, told CNBC his profession is moving away from the McMansion era as homeowners demand more practical designs. Paul Bishop, vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors, told CNBC that McMansions look and feel out of place in the aftermath of the recession.

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