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After witnessing the downsizing of new homes and lot sizes in America for the past three years, it appears that the trend is finally starting to reverse itself — or at least level off — especially among higher-end homes, according to the latest Home Design Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Of the 500 residential architects surveyed for the report, 52 percent said they’re seeing decreases in homes sizes this year, down from 57 percent last year. When broken out by home type (entry-level vs. upper-end), the numbers are even more dramatic — just 40 percent of respondents reported seeing a decrease in average project size.

While we shouldn’t expect the McMansion to make its return any time soon — after all, just 5 percent of respondents reported seeing an increase in the size of their residential projects — the apparent leveling off of the downsizing trend does serve as an indication that the housing market may finally be on the road to recovery.

AIA’s chief economist Kermit Baker stated in the report: “While this doesn’t suggest that home sizes are suddenly and dramatically increasing, it does indicate that the pace of decline has slowed ... [With] overall home and lots sizes showing signs of increasing slightly, [it] indicates that the housing market is stabilizing after being in a downward spiral since 2007.”

The survey also found that:

  • Open-space layouts that maximize flexibility continue to be in high demand.
  • Outdoor living remains hot. Sixty percent of survey respondents reported seeing an increase in outdoor space, like covered areas and outdoor cooking space, in their projects, up from 56 percent in 2010. Blended indoor/outdoor space is also growing in popularity.
  • Just 22 percent of respondents said lot size decreased, down from 32 percent in 2010.

For more on the survey, visit