Smaller homes gain popularity


As someone who spent far too much time whining about the rise of the McMansion, I was delighted by this bit of news: For the first time ever, homes are getting smaller.

According to the US Census Bureau, the average size of homes started in the third quarter of 2008 was 2,438 square feet, a drop of 7.2% from the from the 2,629 square foot average in the second quarter. A Better Homes & Gardens survey (subscription required) found that 32% of home buyers expect their new home to be smaller than the old one.

Bravo! Smaller homes are more environmentally-friendly and less expensive and time-consuming to maintain. The "My home is bigger than my brother in law's" mentality of the past decade or so was completely asinine, and a reflection of excess consumption that was a major factor in the mess that we're in now.

When I watch HGTV, I'm always in shock when I hear young couples talking about their need for bigger kitchens and extra bedrooms. Not long ago I watched a single complaining about her need for a third bedroom. Why?

To learn more about the benefits of small homes, visit the Small House Society. And check out this piece about a California man who lives in an 80 square foot house he built out of free stuff he found on Craigslist.