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Is Your Home Right-Sized?
Over the last several decades there has been a trend toward larger homes. In 1970 the average family home in the United States was around 1,500 square feet, by 2004 this number was closer to 2,500.
Several factors drove this trend, including further suburban sprawl, air-conditioning, and relatively inexpensive costs. As a culture, Americans have also been conditioned over the last 50 years that bigger is better.
This perception is beginning to change with younger generations. While young people can tend not to have solid roots, traditionally by 30 or so most expected to be in a long term residence with a spouse and young kids. The spouse and kids are still going on, but lifestyles are becoming far more external to where people eat and sleep.
This can be especially true in areas with a temperate climate like most of California's coastal regions where regardless of the time of year you can usually go outside with nothing much heavier than a wind breaker.
Places like the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas never completely gave up on smaller housing. In part because of the aforementioned climate, but also due to the cost and age of housing available.
Nationally the trend toward larger homes also seems to have peaked for now, although whether that will remain the trend is hard to tell while the economy continues to improve and much of the Country's harsher weather which can drive people toward a climate controlled environment.
If you're coming to temperate areas, such as my home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, from the East Coast or other areas that can experience climate extremes you might consider re-thinking what your home buying criteria.
For younger generations it may turn out that the older generation houses from before the 1980's better fit their needs.