Consumers Now Want Smaller, More Efficient, Less Expensive Homes


Experts from the NAHB and Better Homes & Gardens Magazine released some interesting research at the International Builder's Show in Las Vegas last week.  They found that Americans aren't interested in McMansions or large homes anymore, they're looking for something more practical.  They're looking for economic and cozy spaces with neat organization.  What's interesting, however, is that the same group that presented this research, the NAHB, is also the group behind IBS and The New American Home.  So despite the fact that consumers want smaller homes, the NAHB brings out a New American Home of 8721 square feet — it's a veritable Temple of Opulence.  I guess you could file this news in the ironic category. 

Be that as it may, buyer's aren't just looking for smaller homes.  They want function, so here's a breakdown of some of the things buyers are looking for in their homes:

  • "Wii-sized," media-centric family gathering rooms
  • More storage to keep clutter under control
  • Small homes with built in shelves for food storage
  • Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems
  • Energy-efficient homes with lower utility bills
  • Outdoor spaces, such as a front porch
  • A dedicated home office space

Speaking to The Washington Post, David Poole, sales manager at a development with smaller-sized homes, said, "It's an easier buyer to get into [a small house] just because of the circumstances of the economy … people aren't buying big, huge homes with no yard.

To be clear, I think it's wise to consider the current consumer's mood as something more than a trend.  Naturally, we're in a tough spot, so everyone is looking to be smart economically.  But the thing is, the real estate market has been heading for trouble for quite some time.  Builders and developers prioritized size over style and convenience over efficiency.  Consumers bought into gargantuan homes by overextending themselves with creative mortgages or high payments that they really could not afford.  And now we have a shakeout and bailout.  But future developments must be different.  They must be economically approachable and practical. 

[+] Consumers Rethink Home-Buying Priorities [Builder Magazine]
[+] Seeking a Smaller Footprint [The Washington Post]

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  • jason chambers

    Somewhere, Susan Susanka is smling widely after years of preaching just this concept.

  • Jim

    Very good article, I have heard many of my friends say that they wish their homes were more energy efficient etc. and who wouldnt want their home to save them money in these tough economic times? I recently bought a new home and how much money my home would save me on bills in the future was a big factor. I bought it through this company called Taylort Morrison and they were great, here’s a link to their site:

  • Nuno

    Don’t buy a new house, improve an old one in a city centre.

  • SphereTrending

    Ironic, yes. I wonder if this will influence next year’s New American Home? I hope so, I would look forward to touring a green and sustainable home that is attainable for the majority of America.

    Side note – My boys totally vote for a Wii-sized media room! Do I sense a branding opportunity for Nintendo? :)

  • rivs

    I think the economy is looking to buy smaller homes. The only thing that I question is if people are willing to buy a house that is more energy efficient. I mean if a house is cheap enough even if it isn’t energy efficient a person will probably be more likely to buy it.

  • {jay} p

    great comment jason! i’m sure she is definitely smiling!!! ha ha ha…

    i’m just happy to see that some homebuilders are catching up with the actual desires of consumers…now if we can get them to do something about the crappy “architecture”

  • Annoyed

    Be careful what you wish for. Lots of tiny homes in the UK – footprints you would not think suitable for keeping pets are supposed to house families; no storage at all; bedrooms 7′ x 9′; “living rooms” 10’x10′ – no playing Wii in there I can assure you. No air con. No basements. No land.
    Revel in your space and amenities, people.

  • Gisele

    Yeah! LESS Issssssssssss MORE. This is very good news for urban infill lots where developers can look forward to more efficient and BETTER DESIGNS that perhaps will bring families closer together!!

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