Opinion Brief

Is the McMansion dead?

Americans are downsizing. Does that mean the end of huge houses on tiny lots?

"The McMansion era is over," says real estate website Trulia, citing research that shows only 9 percent of potential homebuyers want to purchase a house that is 3,200 square feet or larger. On top of that, cities and towns are increasingly passing ordinances banning large, ostentatious homes. Is the McMansion history? (Watch a report about the death of the McMansion)

The future looks bleak for McMansions: These tacky homes are meeting the same fate as other "excesses of the previous decade," including Hummers and subprime loans, says Jennifer Davies in The San Diego Union-Tribune. As recession-shocked Americans seek out cheaper, (relatively) smaller, and greener living options, new-home sizes are falling for the first time in living memory.
"Are McMansions losing favor?"

They're not dying, just moving: The seemingly "never-ending McMansion story" isn't over yet, says Scott Van Voorhis in The Boston Globe. These "hulking monstrosities" may be on the way out in the outer suburbs, but they're still popping up in inner 'burbs and urban areas, as wealthy executives build their giant homes over the graves of "a whole generation of modest capes and ranches."
"McMansions making a comeback — or did they ever really go away?"

McMansion-heavy suburbs are the ghettos of tomorrow: It's true that walkable urban areas are in vogue, and will continue to be built up, says Christopher Leinberger in The Atlantic. That's a good thing for cities — but it's bad news for outlying "McMansion subdivisions," which will continue to fall out of favor and likely turn into "slums characterized by poverty, crime, and decay."
"The next slum?"

"McMansion" is a relative term: For the moment, people seem to want smaller houses, says Nick Teichen in Flux. But is that really a "harbinger of an America less obsessed with consumerism and more willing to live within its means"? It's too soon to tell. Americans still expect houses twice as large as those built in 1960. Does a house like that qualify as a McMansion? That's in the eye of the beholder.
"Death of the McMansion"

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