The Return of McMansions?

by Shilpi Paul

The Return of McMansions?: Figure 1
A home built by Niroo Masterpieces.

According to polling conducted by Trulia Trends, at least some homeowners are eager to live in giant houses again.

With their American Dream survey, Trulia has been tracking changes in attitudes around home ownership since 2008. This year, Trulia uncovered that despite all the talk of millennials wanting smaller homes, the respondents to the survey actually seem to want super-sized homes.

As optimism grows regarding the housing market — nearly two-thirds of those polled believe that home prices are on the rise — demand for larger homes is rising as well. Eleven percent of respondents want a home larger than 3,200 square feet, up from 6 percent of respondents last year, and 27 percent want a home bigger than 2,600 square feet.

Census data backs up the poll reporting: homes constructed in 2011 were, on average, 2,480 square feet in size, compared to 2,392 square feet in 2010.

The Return of McMansions?: Figure 2
Courtesy of Trulia Trends

In other news from the report, Trulia found that respondents were quite optimistic about the housing market — maybe too optimistic, believes Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. In an analysis of the findings, Kolko worries that too much optimism might lead Americans back to the kind of troubled thinking that led to the crash:

It’s important to dream, and dream big – this is America, after all. And the major housing indicators support renewed optimism. In our December 2011 survey, consumers told us that (1) fewer defaults and foreclosures and (2) more sales would be the two trends that would give them the most confidence in housing market recovery, and both of those measures are improving. But while some optimism is necessary for the housing market to recover, the pendulum may have swung a little too far. Too much optimism would get us back to a bubble.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_return_of_mcmansions/5682


  1. Anon said at 2:48 pm on Friday June 22, 2012:
    Isn't this really dependent on geographical area? I would think people in major cities would generally prefer smaller homes, simply because they're used to smaller homes.
  1. ibc said at 9:50 pm on Monday June 25, 2012:
    Not only that, but it's naive to consider this stuff in a vacuum. There's no way on Earth I'd move out of my streetcar suburb in DC (with its 1000 square foot houses) for the exurbs. But if you plopped a 3500 square foot house down in my neighborhood and gave it to me, I'd take it in a heartbeat. Urban versus cul-de-sac living is a trade off. You can't look at this stuff out of context and say, "Oh, people want big houses!" They also want walkable communities, and neighborhood schools. But you can't have both.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »