McMansions, a housing type left for dead following the real estate crash, powered yesterday’s positive new home sales report, builders told the Wall Street Journal. During the recession the average size of U.S. homes shrunk 3.4 percent to 2,382 square feet, but in 2011 the average size actually grew 5.2 percent to 2,505 square feet.
Analysts attribute the increase to high-income buyers’ relatively advantageous perch in the housing market. With lending conditions tight, these buyers are more likely to qualify for mortgages, or to pay for their purchase in cash. As a result, the share of homes built to their liking has increased.
McMansions are generally defined as new homes larger than 3,000 square feet, and several builders told the Journal that orders for such homes have increased. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders 30 percent of all housing starts in 2011 were for custom homes, up from 19 percent during the building peak in 2005. [WSJ]