As per Newsoxy, the average size of a house has more than doubled to 2,349 square feet from 983 back in the 1950s. This trend is more more remarkable when you consider that with some small year-to-year variations, houses have grown almost unceasingly since 1978.
The average size of a new single-family house shrank significantly from 2008 to 2009, the census figures show. Nationally the average decrease was 51 square feet, to 2,422 square feet, the data show. In the Northeastern United States, the change was more dramatic: House size diminished by more than 200 square feet, to 2,529 square feet.
This shrink will hopefully continue as buyers realize the virtues of smaller homes. Especially when even the Washington Post runs stories on, “The top 10 reasons building a smaller house is better even if their number one reason is a bit tongue-in-cheek, “You won’t be the obvious person to host every important family occasion and accommodate all the friends and relatives who come to town.” Many sites, groups and organizations have moved towards methods of building small homes, the average American can visit a nearby Ikea to find layouts that range from 300-600 square feet for a quick idea of an efficient home.
When you look at the economy and face the reality of the fact that our nation is in a decline without any real hope for an improvement as fossil fuels run out, raw materials become more and more expensive to find (within the terraspace that is, since we are too shortsighted to pull a nearby asteroid and the idiot Democrats poisoned NASA in the 70’s and the idiot Republicans killed it in the 80’s) and a lack of expanding markets to build and economy around. We have shipped our ability to make tools to China, so we can not even be a manufacturing nation. This leaves us an economy that has no middle class, and the divide between rich and poor is growing more ugly each year. According to a report earlier this year done by New York University, the top 20% of wealthy individuals in America own about 85% of all the wealth in the country – while the bottom 40% own close to zero and in addition to owning virtually no assets to speak off, many have a “negative” net wealth reality source. This makes it clear that we cannot expect a future with regular employment regardless of our skill sets, and our best hope for employment is to be as mobile as the last gasp vestiges of the economy hop around the nation. Right now we have an anchor in the city of Flint, Michigan in the form of a house that has lost 80% of its value in the last five years. We cannot assume another mortgage, and have no desire to add more bad debt to the bad housing debt we already possess. (For anyone reading and judging us from false assumptions, we bought the reasonable sized home, for a reasonable price, far below the appraised value). The high rate of home ownership in this country even hurts our chances of having the economy improve since so many people are stuck with similar anchor homes so that they are unable to begin a migration to areas with more jobs. That anchor in Flint is going to make retirement an impossibility, and we are not going to receive Social Security benefits thanks to the rapacious “Greatest Generation” and their obnoxiously wasteful “Baby Boom” kids.
Where does this leave us? It leave us planning on a home that can move with us, rather than another anchor or a series of rent checks leading to one or both of us being homeless in our old age. My wife and I both agree that portable homes are the best answer for the future. With that in mind we have begun a mission to pick a type, a model, and to narrow concepts. There are some great resources that can help with smart small home building such as The Containerist and our first choice seems to be deciding between building on a trailer/semi flatbed or merely redoing a cargo container. I will keep you updated in this space as we make our decisions. Right now the only things I am sure of is that we do not want a traditional “mobile home” as the construction quality on them is entirely too poor, they are very inefficient and their engineering seems stuck in the 1970’s.
Timeline: Now until Spring 2013 to do all pre-planning and initial purchases
- Downsizing the American Dream: The shrinking house (usatoday.com)
- The Shrinking American House: Sign of a Cultural Shift? (streetsblog.net)
- The appeal of downsizing (mysanantonio.com)
- Building a green empire, one Tiny House at a time (news.cnet.com)
- How much house is enough? (enviromom.com)