Is Downsizing a Thing of the Past?

June 29, 2020
Large mansion with sprawling backyard
By Leland Sandberg

According to Realtor.com, the attractiveness of so-called “jewel box” mansions is dwindling, but so is the demand for mansions. Instead of finding relatively smaller estates where a luxury buyer’s money could be spent more on upgrades and renovations or sprawling McMansions, homebuyers now want large estates. The wording is particularly important, as Realtor.com points out, because it's the acreage that counts. A Mansion appears too big, but jewel box mansions seem too small. Homes that felt too high maintenance for some before the pandemic are now what homebuyers want. The trend of downsizing has been paused as space means more than ever to homeowners. 

As with so many other aspects of day-to-day life, the coronavirus pandemic has turned all that on its head. 

“For the longest time, people have been trending toward smaller and more manageable, simplifying their lives,” said Dana Koch, a Corcoran agent based in Palm Beach, Florida. “Now it’s the opposite. I don’t have a single client right now who’s looking to downsize.”

Preferences vary by price range and region, but buyers in every market are eyeing extra space. “I would say [buyers are looking at] a 20% to 30% increase in size, whether in the number of bedrooms or square footage,” said Stephanie Anton, who was until recently the president Luxury Portfolio International. [She was interviewed for this story before she announced on June 23 she was leaving her post]. “It’s a jump-up a category or two across the board.”

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