According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, the average square footage of new homes has been dropping. The median size of new homes being built today is just above 2,100 square feet, down from 2,309 square feet three years ago, in 2007. However, the survey also shows that, while the size of homes has decreased, the price (and cost) per square foot generally has not. Labor costs have gone done, but material costs – copper and steel, for example – have skyrocketed. Recent federal legislation is requiring more energy-efficient (translation, more expensive) insulation, windows and heating/cooling systems. Moreover, more buyers seem to think, “Well, if I’m building smaller, at least I’m going to build better.” As a result, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and designer touches are de rigueur.

Consumers, from baby boomers to their children, the “eco-boomers,” are realizing that a well-planned house can live bigger than one that’s big simply for the sake of being big. Spaces that serve double purposes, such as a family room that converts to a media room, or an office tucked into a nook rather than using an entire room, are in demand. Today’s home buyers simply do not want to pay for and/or maintain space they rarely use.
Amenities also are important to today’s consumer.  Home buyers are willing to pay a little more to live where there are amenities – such as Newport Covewith its private marina and waterfront common areas.

Attractive practicality may be the theme of the day. . .

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