The McMansion Is Making A Comeback

It was only in March that Mint.com’s Catherine Hill made this declaration: “The McMansion-owning, designer-bag toting, new-Mercedes-driving consumer is, well, so 2006.”

Funny how much can change in a few months.

As we’ve started to regain faith in the housing market, there are new signs Americans are itching to relive our pre-recession spending heyday. 

In Trulia’s latest American Dream survey, 17 per cent more homebuyers said they envisioned buying 2,600 sq. foot homes this year than in 2011. What’s more, the number of people who set their sights on super-sized digs (3,200 sq. foot-plus) has nearly doubled from 6 per cent to 11 per cent.

“It turns out that new-home builders spotted this growing appetite for size,” Trulia notes. “The Census recently reported the average home constructed increased from 2,392 square feet in 2010 to 2,480 square feet in 2011.”

The only problem is our eyes might be bigger than our budgets. 

The reality of the Great Recession is that we’re still doing damage control. About 40 per cent of Americans’ wealth disappeared over the last five years, the Federal Reserve reported, and some estimates put consumers’ true net worth back at 1992 levels.

There’s also the housing market itself to consider, as Trulia points out: 

“Although newly constructed homes are getting bigger, most inventory is existing homes, including foreclosures, and the current inventory of for-sale homes skews smaller than most people’s idea…Meanwhile, the super-sized category –3,200-plus–is pretty much on the money, but the majority of available homes fall in the smaller size categories–800 to 2,000 square feet. That means many Americans may have to downsize their dreams to fit a smaller reality.”

The survey was conducted in conjunction with Harris Interactive, which polled 2,205 U.S. adults between May 22-24 and 2,230 U.S. adults between June 4-6. 

There’s still time to downsize. See these tiny homes that could save you big >

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