US Downsizing Trend Appears to be in Reversal

15 July 2011

During the property crisis of the past few years the trend in the US was for downsizing both property and lot sizes, but now this appears to be in reversal, according to a survey by the American Institute of Architects.

 

A report for the first quarter of 2011 by the Institute showed that 52% of those surveyed said that home sizes were decreasing while 5% thought they were increasing. When compared to the 2010 report, 60% of those surveyed thought home sizes were decreasing compared with just 3% who thought they were increasing. While not exactly dramatic it does at least indicate that the decline is slowing down.

 

This has been echoed by residential architects who have seen home size declines fall from 20% to 18%. However until home prices begin to rise it’s unlikely that the size of homes will show significant increases. The upper end of the market is reporting more home size increases compared with entry-level homes.

 

The size of building plots has also decreased, which may seem strange as the price of land has fallen quite steeply in some markets. The reason for this is probably because many families are looking for low maintenance properties and gardens, and it seems likely that smaller plots will continue to be the norm. In spite of this outdoor living is becoming more popular, and many new homes are being constructed with this in mind.

 

Residential architects have suffered from weaker market conditions since the middle of 2007, and although billings have increased during the first quarter of this year, it's too soon to say if this is due to a recovery within the market or simply because of the time of year. In general the pace of decline has slowed in most sectors, except those homes targeting first-time buyers.

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