San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor The Incredible Shrinking House | The White Oaks Blog
San Carlos Real Estate June 13, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking House

by Chuck Gillooley


It used to be that bigger was better when it came to our homes. For many decades, statistics have shown that the average sized home in the United States has continued to get bigger every year. But there’s some new data out now that hints to some changes in this trend. In other parts of the country, people are starting to favor smaller and more intelligently designed homes over the McMansions of previous generations.

There are numerous reasons for this change, ranging from concerns about the cost of heating large homes to the fact that the kids of the Baby Boomer generation are heading off to college, leaving many homeowners wondering what to do with all that extra square footage.

Here’s a great article from CNN Money that discusses this phenomenon in more detail. Thanks to blog reader Greg for this find:

The Incredible Shrinking House

This is actually good news for San Carlos, especially for the White Oaks and Howard Park neighborhoods. Why? Many of the plots in these neighborhoods are in the 4,500 – 6,000 square foot range, so there’s not much room to build if you still want a decent yard. Homeowners are forced to maximize the utility of their existing square footage, thus rethinking the use of every square foot. Sure enough, we’re seeing more and more homes in the 1,500 – 2,000 square foot range that have been remarkably remodeled without changing the footprint of the original structure. And they’re carrying hefty price tags, too.

Still, don’t expect the demise of the large home in San Carlos.  You only need to drive down Saint Francis Way to be convinced that folks still like their space, and are willing to pay for it. What you will see, however, is more demand for “intelligent” space — homes that are smaller in square footage, but much higher in utilization…i.e. no wasted or under-utilized space. Formal dining rooms and living rooms are prime examples of dead space.

For those of us in the home sales market, including buyers and sellers, this starts to change the playing field a bit. It will no longer be acceptable to base the value of a home primarily on its square footage. Homes with intelligent design and unique architecture will command a premium despite their smaller size, thus skewing the stoic “$$-per-square foot” metric.

So don’t be surprised when you start to see some smaller homes pop up in the $750-$850/square foot, even if they’re 2,000 square feet or less. According to the experts, if they’re built right, they’ll be in demand and will likely fetch the price.

After all, it’s not the size of the home that matters most….it’s what’s inside that matters.

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