Death Comes to the McMansion

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Even in Texas, they’re building them smaller these days. The era of the McMansion is ending, and I can’t say I’m disappointed.

Whether you call them McMansions, Starter Castles, or Faux Chateaus, these 3,000 plus square foot homes — which were often cheaply built on tiny plots of land — were in high demand across the country for a few decades. But according to Cindy Perman at CNBC, more towns are passing ordinances against these structures: 

In its latest report on home-buying trends, real-estate site Trulia declares: “The McMansion Era Is Over.” Just 9 percent of the people surveyed by Trulia said their ideal home size was over 3,200 square feet. Meanwhile, more than one-third said their ideal size was under 2,000 feet.

“That’s something that would’ve been unbelievable just a few years back,” said Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia.

It’s not just the economy driving us to want smaller homes — we we also have environmental and practical concerns.

The article says home builders are getting with the program — most are now planning to build smaller or lower-priced homes. Back in the 1960s, 1,200 square feet was the average size of an American home. By the 2000s it was 2,330 square feet.

Is the downsizing here to stay? 

“This is absolutely a long-term effect,” he said. “Think of families with small children who’ve been foreclosed upon … When these teenagers are in a position to buy a home, they won’t want to go through these experiences they saw their parents go through.”

Of course, the question now is: What do we do with all the existing McMansions?

Some think they’re destined to be future slums. Others believe we’ll get creative and turn them into commercial centers, offices, or group service sites. And then there’s always the option of just tearing them down. Either way, it’s a positive step to move away from Mcmansion living and think more about how we use space, building materials, land, and money.

Zoe Romanowsky

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Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Godspy.com. Zo

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