Downsizing is not just geometry. The future of housing in America.

Reblogger Lenn Harley
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

DOWNSIZING HOME SIZES?  Seniors community


I don't believe we'll see a significant movement towards smaller homes until the cost of land comes down to a point where it is cost effective for developers and builders to add the cost of improvements to the cost of a lot and still make a profit.

We're not there yet except with townhomes/condos and "Z" lots.

Not happening in my market.

"Downsizing" in my area means townhomes and condos.  That happened decades ago. 

The single family detached home has not been downsized and the average is about 2,500 square feet above grade.

The home shown here is in a 55+ community where the homes are about 1,600 square feet on a 1/5 acre lot.  Prices today??  About $400,000. 



Original content by Richard Weisser

Downsizing is about more than simple geometry. The future of housing in America.Like many others in the “Baby Boomer” generation, I am approaching the point in life where I am ready to reassess both my future plans AND my current lifestyle.

Downsizing is NOT just about smaller spaces. It’s about assaying what is really important in life, and what we can actually live without.

I have always been a minimalist to some extent, but now even more so. All I need is a place that keeps me cool in the summer, warm in the winter, simple wholesome food and the love and affection of my family and friends.

If you combine this mindset with the trend towards more energy efficient “green” thinking, it would seem that the future of house is definitely leaning toward “smaller.”

The long term outlook for housing seems to be “less is better!”

Not because we HAVE to, but because we WANT to!

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Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co. - Frisco, TX
Real Estate Agents
At one point, it seemed that way here in Frisco TX (2010) when the "new high" of gas prices were felt as well as the sluggish economy. That was just temporary. We are back onto 4800-5000 sqft homes again!!!
Jul 17, 2012 10:37 PM #1
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Lenn, I agree with you. Seniors in my area are looking for first floor bedrooms and amenities of active adult communities but are not willing to buy smaller homes. I have friends who actually bought a much  larger home in a 55plus community.

Jul 17, 2012 10:38 PM #2
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Hi Lenn,

We are seeing a shift to smaller more energy efficient homes. It's more about quality than quantity. With energy costs continuing to escalate, gas prices still on the rise many are taking a hard look at the cost of maintaining their McMansions. They still want all the bells and whistles but want less to care for. Life styles are so active with places to go, places to see they don't want such a bite out of their monthly nut going to maintaining space they hardly every use. They are buying second homes and scaling down in size their home residence in our area.

Jul 17, 2012 10:42 PM #3
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Lenn,

Here they (the builders) are still thinking bigger is better. In the latest addition to the Quail Run subdivision the home sizes are staying around 2,400 and higher. And the prices are around 200K plus.

I don't see anything on the active drawing boards to build a "smaller community".

Looks like the bigger home are here to stay for a while.

Have a good day in Virginia.

Best, Clint McKie


Jul 17, 2012 10:43 PM #4
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Interesting, because real estate is so local. Here in Coweta County GA, foreclosed lots can be purchased under $10K, and the builders are forced to compete with foreclosures. $400K here buys a mansion!

Jul 17, 2012 10:52 PM #5
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Clint. You bet they are.

Dorie.  Not so much here.

Gita.  Agreed.  I hear them say over and over, not big enough, need more room, where's storage.

Loreena.  Here too.

Jul 17, 2012 10:52 PM #6
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Downsizing is happening with my buyers!  They are all looking for less home - partly due to budget, and partly due to lifestyle choices.  I would hate to be invested in a mcmansion these days...

Jul 17, 2012 10:54 PM #7
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Good morning Lenn,

Downsizing has not made a large trend in our Dallas market...and for the reasons you state - the smaller homes must still have the high end amenities, and most do not.

Jul 17, 2012 10:55 PM #8
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker ABR, GRI

This really hut home yesterday as I was sorting our older belongings to give to our college bound kids that will be leaving in a few weeks, We will be empty nesters.

Jul 17, 2012 11:14 PM #9
Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY

As a retirement location, often folks that are downsizing from their midwest or east or west home MOVE here, but I haven't yet worked with a seller that was moving that direction.  We have several age-restricted communities but even there, square footage can be generous. (3700 sft +)

I took a quick peek at two such neighborhoods and found that of the 119 sold in the past 6 months, 23 were over 2500 square feet, and 6 were under 1600.  I saw a show once on "folding" homes in Japan - amazingly small and versatile.  It certainly would be a different lifestyle.

Jul 18, 2012 01:44 AM #10
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Lenn - While we have moved to much smaller lots over the last two decades in our market, driven by city and county planners who think that's the way to counter urban sprawl, the actual sizes of the homes keep increasing. And like you, the most readily available small alternative is condos and townhomes.

Jul 18, 2012 02:13 AM #11
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Lenn, I've always been somewhat baffled by the size of homes some folks seem to need to "be happy".  I'd bet there are rooms in their home that get entered once a month and that's about it.

Jul 18, 2012 02:28 AM #12
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jeanne.  The McMansions are not faring well, but folks still don't want the old communities in many areas here.

Lisa.  I love when someone agrees with me.

Rob.  You hope.

Cara.  Nothing in other countries has ever caught on here except for elevations that resemble other countries style.

Dick.  Yep.  Smaller lots but NOT smaller homes here.

Liz and Bill.  You are describing my home.  Biggest mistake I ever made.

Jul 18, 2012 03:00 AM #13
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