What Size Homes Do Buyers Want?

March 1, 2017

The average new home is around 2,700 square feet today, which is 57 percent larger than the new homes of 40 years ago. But do homeowners and buyers always want bigger homes?

Trulia conducted a survey of 2,000 Americans and found that, if they had to move within a year, a plurality (37 percent) would choose a smaller home than the one they currently have, a larger share than those who want similar size (32 percent) or larger (23 percent) houses.

The results differed by age group, income, and current home size. More Baby Boomers want to downsize than Millennials, and most Millennials desire larger homes. A majority of people making less than $150,000 per year wanted larger homes, while most making more wanted smaller homes. Of the people living in homes with more than 3,200 square feet, 70.3 percent wanted a smaller house, and only 29.7 percent wanted to go bigger.

There are clear generational differences when it comes to preferences for home sizes, even when controlling for the current size of home households are living in. Millennials overwhelmingly prefer larger homes while their parents, boomers, want to downsize to smaller abodes. The key to satisfaction, it seems, may be a swap of homes between these two generations.

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