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Why The Increase In Average Home Size Isn’t Necessarily Great For Your Family

Steve & Michelle Gerdes

In the U.S. the average size of a new home has nearly doubled since 1973, but whether your getting more for you money depends on how you feel about a different kind of green:your glorious lawn. The Atlantic points out that despite the increase in size the lots have gotten smaller, and that’s sending traditional ideas about yards out to pasture.

Houses In The U.S. Are Getting Bigger As Lawns Shrink

According to census data, in 1978 the average home was about 1,650 square feet on top of 0.22 acres. Today that average lot area has dropped 13 percent to about .19 acres, while the median has dropped 26 percent to .14 acres (experts put the real number somewhere in between the 2 figures). The infographic below illustrates this to scale, but to put it simply: Junior’s gonna have to play more bocce than baseball.

This is not due to an increase in apartments, townhouses, and other attached structures, since 90 percent of new homes sold in 2015 were classified at “detached.” Real estate search engine Zillow suggests it’s mostly an economic choice for people who want bigger houses without the cost of bigger lots. Svenja Gudell, the chief economist at Zillow, explains that this trend mostly represents, “the compromise between what builders can profitably build and what consumers will actually buy.” Still, it’s probably best to blame environmental concerns so you can seem like a better person.

Before you go all Clint Eastwood, it’s important to note that this data is for new homes only and your current lawn is probably fine. But if you’re dipping your toe in the new housing market, look on the bright side: less yard work.

[H/T] The Atlantic