Wednesday, June 20, 2012
WSJ Wednesdays: Big Home are Back!
According to Dawn Wotapka's Friday, June 8, 2012 article in The Wall Street Journal, larger homes are making a comeback. Steve Ruffner, president of the Southern California division of KB Home, one of the nation's largest builders, says the average square footage of homes being built is 2,079, which is an increase of 13% from last year. He also says that more of his buyers are selecting models that exceed 3,500 square feet.
Along with this trend, some builders are seeing increased sales prices. Are you surprised? I was a bit, but the rational behind buying a larger home now while interest rates are low makes sense. We did it. In 1999, we had a 4-bedroom home built when it was only my husband, our son and me. We knew we were planning to have more kids, and this way, they wouldn't need to share bedrooms like I did when I was younger. The extra space allowed us to have a guest room and for me to have a craft room/office until we turned the smallest bedroom into a nursery. Once my son moved out and got married, I gained my office back. Not much crafting going on these days, but facing the windows is a nice inspiration to write.
Wotapka's article also states some families who were stuck in smaller homes are now trading up because they feel more confident. Ruffner says, though, that buyers are being more practical instead of adding bling to their new homes. He says oversized sunrooms (my dream), vaulted ceilings and soaring entry halls are out right now. Our family room has a 19 foot high ceiling. I don't think I would do that again if we built another home. The entry way is also open to the upstairs, with a balcony that looks over the living room on one side and the entry way on the other. It looks lovely, it makes cleaning a nasty job. It's almost impossible for me to clean the chandelier in the entry way. Equally difficult to clean are the large windows over the fireplace and the ceiling fan on the living room ceiling.
Even with the room we have here, the hubby and I have toyed with buying a larger home so that we can provide ample play space for the girls and their friends without taking away from family living areas. If we didn't buy/build a new home, we would like to add on to the kitchen, perhaps add an outdoor kitchen, and finish off the basement. That final item would allow us to move the play room downstairs and the bonus room would be turned into a media room--which is what he had always intended it for.
Does news of people building bigger homes and trading up give you more confidence that the economy is improving? Are you considering such a move?
Hope you enjoyed this edition of WSJ Wednesdays.