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How Big or Small Should Your House Plan Be?

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Published On : 07-07-2014
Author :Brian Toolan
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People wonder if they should get a big, average or a small-sized house plan. Ironically, what seems small to one person may feel like a castle to another, so it is subjective and based on current life needs. Although housing market statistics and trends today indicate that many baby boomers are thinking ahead. Surprisingly not everyone is thinking about downsizing to a smaller home. Some folks are looking at building their “forever home” now, and a house plan that averages 2,598 square feet.

According to a new study - U.S. Census Bureau 2013 Characteristics of New Housing - the average size of a new home was 2,598 square feet, topping 2007’s record of 2,500 square feet for a single family house plan Out of 569,000 single family homes completed in 2013, over 90 percent of them featured air conditioning, and 44 percent had four bedrooms or more. This data and the favored home designs suggest that many homeowners are building what we call “forever homes” to serve and accommodate their needs with growing families and aging elders.

That would be like this 2,525 square foot four bedroom, three bath ranch style home plan from The Plan Collection. Anyone interested in building a smaller home will want to homes using chic layouts, and multipurpose furnishings.

So if you are thinking about building a new home, you need to think seriously about whether or not you want to live in a home that's larger than 2,500 square feet. Historically, smaller homes were the norm. In 1950, the average home size was 983 square feet. By the year 2004, during the building boom, the average home size was 2,340 square feet. (Source: The Survey of Construction (SOC) is a partially funded analysis by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

At The Plan Collection, this classic but modest sized craftsman style bungalow house plan below is 2,570 sq. ft. (House Plan #115-1434) and makes good use of its Craftsman style house planspace with five (5) good sized bedrooms, three (3) full baths and an attached garage with two (2) bays. And there is also a bonus space, also known as a mother-in-law suite, available.

The home features a gable roof and inside, a fireplace, dining room, guest room, family room and main level laundry.

Inside the home, trends are suggesting a desire for high ceilings, lots of windows that bring nature indoors, and flex spaces such as a great room, a combined dining and kitchen space. Homes with two or more stories represented 53 percent (305,000) of homes completed while over 31 percent (180,000) featured three or more bathrooms. Other trends included:

  • About half had a floor area of at least 2,400 square feet.
  • At least two garage bays were in almost 64% (362,000) of homes; and almost 20% (119,000) had three or more garage bays.

Some of the other highlights from the SOC survey include the fact that there were 251,000 homes with four bedrooms or more; 27,000 had one and one-half bathrooms or less, whereas 188,000 homes had three or more bathrooms.

Smaller versus Larger Homes

Here are some pros and cons to help you decide how big your new home should be:

Cost factor. A smaller home costs less build, and to run than a larger home. Heating and cooling is a big factor. Home-improvements like painting, roof replacement, or changing the carpeting or flooring cost more and let’s not forget home furnishings.

On the contrary, smaller homes simply cost less thanks to square footage-- monthly utility bills, home improvement, and furnishings. And another pointer, a smaller home requires significantly less time to clean and maintain, and that includes the landscaping.

Better quality materials. Choosing a smaller house plan means you would never have to sacrifice quality in building or remodeling materials such as tiles, countertops, cabinets, flooring, etc.  People who build McMansions often skimp on quality to save money.

Easier to sell.  The value of an oversized home will depreciate over time, plus energy costs make them harder to sell. A smaller home will be much easier to sell.

In the overall scheme of things, a home with less square footage can save you money over time.

When it comes to the valuation, a single-family house sold last year for an average of $324,500 compared with $292,000 on average in 2012. What’s more, construction is at a five-year high. Although the 569,000 new single-family homes built in 2013 are about one third the 2006 total of 1,645,000, the numbers are up from 447,000 in 2011.

small summer house planThe Plan Collection offers smaller homes for those who want to keep their footprint smaller. (Left) This 800 square foot ranch style home plan # 141-1184 features two bedrooms, one bath and a fireplace for wintertime, plus a screened-in back porch for the summer.

 

 

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