Readers Respond: A home size discrepancy?

While the National Association Home Builders recently reported home size is on the decline, a survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting found more consumers expect to buy bigger houses (44%) than smaller houses (22%). Who's right? Here's what we heard. 

"Both can be right. More people want a larger house than want a smaller one, but there has been a shift toward wanting a smaller home.

“In the Home Improvement Research Institute monthly sentiment tracking study, we study the level of agreement with two statements on this subject. As you can see, the level of agreement with wanting a larger home is higher than that for a smaller home. But over the 3 years this has been tracked, we see the desire for a larger home going down and the reverse for a smaller home.

Mean agreement rating on a 9-point scale

 

Feb. 2008  

Jan. 2011  

Percent Change

At this time, I would rather have a larger home  

4.29

4.13

-4%  

At this time, I would rather have a smaller home  

3.26

3.52

8%  

 

“And while consumers more strongly state that they want a larger house than want a smaller house, the gap is shrinking. In February 2008, the agreement rating was 32% points higher for a larger house. In January 2011, the difference was down to 17%.

“Based on this data, one would expect the mix of homes shifting somewhat smaller.”
— Fred Miller
Managing director
Home Improvement Research Institute

 

"The size of the home being built is directly correlated to the market it is being built in. Factors such as unemployment, income levels and age of the population all factor in. How we establish some sort of trend really seems to depend on the market you live in."
— Paul Gabbard