Yahoo: Home Sizes Shrink

nancyinmichNovember 16, 2010

The link below leads to the article with quotes from Susan Susanka and a link to an 89 sq ft house. Their average size of 2100 is getting awfully close to our "upper limit" here on Smaller Homes. Soon we may be the mainstream forum here on THS! Yikes!

Here is a link that might be useful: Linky

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That's interesting. I wonder if the home size will start growing again when the economy improves or if people will realize that is a good sized house.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 11:13AM
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Maybe people are realizing they're not using those big, formal rooms, enough to justify the expense :)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 2:23PM
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Americans seem to have awfully short attention spans. Just look at cars- when the price of gas goes up, everyone starts driving little clown cars, but as soon as it goes back down, out come the dually pick-ups and SUV's. Houses have a much longer life cycle, of course, and a lot of conspicuous consumers got burnt really badly with the housing collapse. Time will tell.....

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 4:15PM
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I too have little faith in the common sense of my fellow man. There may be a temporary shift toward smaller homes now but that will pass and we will soon be right back to bigger is better for most folks. That is.....if this whole house of cards doesn't come crashing down around us. Our Government and the Federal Reserve are playing the equivilent of Russian roulette with our economy right now. There are a lot of very smart people who disagree with this latest trick, Quantitative Easing or QEII as it's been dubbed. But I digress.

I've mentioned this before so I apologize for being repetative but it fits here. I went car shopping wiht my sister last year. I used to own a 1992 Honda Accord. Great car. Good size, low hood line, great visibility, economical. Keep in mind the Accord is the larger of the two sedans offered by Honda. The 2009 Honda Civic (the small one) is now quite a bit larger than my old Accord. Why? My Ex bought a 2002 Toyota Highlander while we were married. The new Highlander is almost twice the size of her Highlander. Again, why? Do we really need to supersize everything?

So no, I don't think America has learned much from this downturn.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 8:12PM
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Hey, Scott, I was thinking about you when I noticed the Jay Shafer 89 square foot house mentioned in the article above.

One feature that was mentioned in the article was about moving to places that were "walkable." So the demographics for that, the retiring/downsizing baby boomers seeking to move where they can live without a car, and the first-time buyers who want to be close and car-free, those two parts of the home market are the ones seeing that small is beautiful.

And I agree with Scott the cars are way too big. We want to buy an American car, when the time comes, but not a BIG car. The big cars take up too much room in your driveway, in the parking lots, and driving on the roads. I doubt that any American full size car would make it down one of the roads in the Irish countryside, so they are automatically limiting the markets accepting these large products. And we sure do not need those high powered engines that are featured in the ads on TV. What happened to the mantra about reducing oil and gas consumption?

Let's hope that more people discover that living small is the best kind of lifestyle.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:57PM
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WE bought a new ford focus last year and it is a down size for us from Jeep liberty. At 35 to 40 MPG we are really happy with it and it does take up much less garage space. Handy little car to drive. We packed a whole lot of groceries and animal food in it today.

I keep remembering the 1850 SQ FT house we had and I do not miss the size at all now I have accustomed myself to living smaller and most of all clearing out so much stuff. At first I balked to clearing out but now I am so glad I purged.

As said before we have lived much smaller at 800 SQ ft and it was fine. I really think it is all about layout and how a person uses their space. No idea what is going to happen to the rest of the world but we have no plans of living larger. I even wish our lot was smaller but it is what it is a half acre. So glad not all of it is usable because it is a hill almost straight up. LOL

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 10:45PM
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I am with Scott and Flgargoyle, a huge number of my fellow Americans are not able to use reason. They react with the crowd without understanding the reasons behind their choices. Sheeple, my co-worker calls them. All that counts is what is covered by the media, and the bully/loudest/most indignant and LEAST INTELLECTUAL (the most important factor) person is the one they are going to follow.

I was truly amazed at the number of cars that suddenly appeared on our streets in the summer of 2008. I drive a PT Cruiser (the largest car I have ever owned) and I have never been able to see around all the SUVs on the road. Once the gas prices hit $4, though, cars must have been shipped in from all over, because all of a sudden, I could see all around me in traffic. Now, two years later, SUVs, vans, and trucks are blocking my view again. Hummm, two years. Maybe all those leases expired. Since gas prices were lower at $2.50, the big vehicles are back. Funny how the price of gas is inching higher and hit $3 again. It didn't happen until the fall, two years and a couple of months after everyone changed to cars. Coincidence?

I see all the empty houses, hear about our Michigan unemployment/underemployment/gave up looking rate of 21% and wonder if we will ever recover economically. I have read that there is a commercial property mortgage crisis yet to come. Businesses have no qualms about walking away from a mortgage if they can get a cheaper property or if business is so slow they cannot pay the bills. I keep waiting for the bigger crash. I don't think we are done with it yet. I was reading that the Bank of America is in trouble....

Chris, thanks for buying American. As a Detroit native, I appreciate your confidence. My last car was a cute little Ford Contour, I loved it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 12:42PM
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The commercial mortgage crisis has already started out here in California...but interestingly, it spins both ways. Some of the results have been devastating. (One historic property in our city was being converted to a housing development financed by Lehman Brothers---the bank went under and pulled the funding, so the developer walked away and didn't even board up the buildings, which have since been stripped of all of their gorgeous historic details and trashed by squatters---bankruptcy court can't fix that...) But other results have actually been positive----some commercial properties have sold at auction to local investors, who then rehab or finish them and lease them at far lower rates than the original owners had planned to do, making things more feasible for small businesses looking for space. It's "resetting" the market rate for commercial space, in a way.

We live in interesting times, for sure. (Side note, though---I have always been a bit astounded that the "Smaller Homes" forum goes up to 2,000 square feet! Where I live that's huge---we dream of moving up from our 1200 sf to a 1500 sf place someday, but to get too much bigger than that you either need to be very well off or move out of the city.)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 2:01PM
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Jay Shaffer's 89sf "house" on wheels is an interesting design study and it does get people to thinking about just how small is tolerable, but in reality that's probably too small to actually live in on an extended basis. Jeff Abrams' Basic Personal Sturcture ( with 240sf is probably about as small as one person can go and remain practical. I've seen similar sized apartments featured on HGTV's Small Space Big Style (no longer airing, frown) and most of those utilize some sort of sleeping loft which is sort of cheating on true square foot calculations.

My personal opinion is that something along the lines of 500sf for one person or two is practicle, then add 200sf for each additional person. However, when I discuss such things at work, I get comments like "who wants to live in a closet?" In time we will see who's philosophy worked better.

By the way, my 1992 Honda Accord was made in America as was my current vehicle, a 2001 Toyota Tundra. I bought American too!


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 9:15PM
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Way to go Scott!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 9:23PM
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