This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Buyers Want Bigger Homes Again, Survey Says

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Downsizing is a hard sell. The notion that a retiree should trade in a three- and four-bedroom family-sized home for something cheaper and easier to manage seems like a no-brainer. But lots of people just don't want to do it.

In fact, predictions during that financial crisis that Americans would shun McMansions in favor of smaller homes seem to have been off the mark. Yes, new homes did get a tad smaller toward the end of the '00s, but now that the economy and housing market are getting stronger, consumers say they want their next home to be as big as or bigger than the current one.

That's the finding in a recent consumer survey by PulteGroup, the national homebuilder.

"It was interesting to see that 84% of homeowners ages 18-59 don't have plans to downsize their next home, even among baby boomers," Deborah Meyer, PulteGroup's chief marketing officer, said of the survey findings. PulteGroup's researcher polled 503 homeowners aged 18 to 58 in November.

Citing Census Bureau data, PulteGroup said the average size of a newly built home grew by 3.7% between 2010 and 2011, to 2,480 square feet. That was the first size increase since 2007.

Not surprisingly, younger homeowners said they wanted bigger homes to accommodate growing families. But the survey found that even homeowners nearing retirement and presumably done with child-rearing soundly rejected downsizing. Only 28% of those 55 to 59 said they wanted their next home to be smaller.

While the survey didn't probe the reasons, there are several possible explanations. A big home is a status symbol; many people want extra bedrooms to lure grown children and grandchildren to visit; and many view the home as an investment and thus favor bigger over smaller.

The survey did uncover some changes in consumer preferences. Even though homeowners don't want to go smaller, they want a more practical use of the space they have.

Many of the McMansions built in the '90s and '00s had formal dining rooms and living rooms in addition to great rooms or family rooms open to the kitchen. The survey found that these vestigial living and dining rooms may become expendable for more homeowners.

"According to the survey, 21% of homeowners ages 18-59 rarely use their formal dining room, while 17% said they rarely use their formal living room," PulteGroup said.

Many homeowners said they could do without formal living and dining rooms, and they expressed a preference for larger rooms overall, master bedroom suites, more storage space, outdoor living space such as patios and greater energy efficiency.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,919.59 +80.85 0.48%
S&P 500 1,981.60 +9.86 0.50%
NASDAQ 4,527.5140 +19.2020 0.43%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs