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McMansions Are Back And Are Bigger Than Ever

Tyler Durden's picture




 

There was a small ray of hope just after the Lehman collapse that one of the most deplorable characteristics of US society - the relentless urge to build massive McMansions (funding questions aside) - was fading. Alas, as the Census Bureau today confirmed, that normalization in the innate desire for bigger, bigger, bigger not only did not go away but is now back with a bang.

According to just released data, both the median and average size of a new single-family home built in 2013 hit new all time highs of 2,384 and 2,598 square feet respectively.

 And while it is known that in absolute number terms the total number of new home sales is still a fraction of what it was before the crisis, the one strata of new home sales which appears to not only not have been impacted but is openly flourishing once more, are the same McMansions which cater to the New Normal uberwealthy (which incidentally are the same as the Old Normal uberwealthy, only wealthier) and which for many symbolize America's unbridled greed for mega housing no matter the cost.

 

Not surprisingly, as size has increased so has price: in 2013 both the average and median price for sold new single-family homes hit record highs of $324,000 and $268,900.

 

The data broken down by region reveals something unexpected: after nearly two decades of supremacy for the Northeast in having the largest new homes, for the bast couple of years the region where the largest homes are built is the South.

 

While historically in the past the need for bigger housing could be explained away with the increase in the size of the US household, this is no longer the case, and as we showed last week, household formation in the US has cratered, so the only logical explanation for this latest push to build ever bigger houses is a simple one: size matters.

Furthermore it turns out it is not only size that matters but amenities. As the chart below shows, virtually all newly-built houses have A/C, increasingly more have 4 or more bedrooms, 3 or more car garages, 2 or more stories, patios and porches (at the expense of decks), and other critical luxuries.

 

In conclusion it is clear that the desire for McMansions has not gone away, at least not among those who can afford them. For everyone else who can't afford a mega home or any home for that matter: good luck renting Blackstone's McApartment.

For those curious for more, here is a snapshot of the typical characteristics of all 2013 new housing courtesy of the Census Bureau:

Of the 569,000 single-family homes completed in 2013:

  • 518,000 had air-conditioning.
  • 59,000 had two or fewer bedrooms and 251,000 had four bedrooms or more.
  • 27,000 had one and one-half bathrooms or less, whereas 188,000 homes had three or more bathrooms.
  • 166,000 had a full or partial basement, while 91,000 had a crawl space, and 312,000 had a slab or other type of foundation.
  • 305,000 had two or more stories.
  • 333,000 had a forced-air furnace and 216,000 had a heat pump as the primary heating system.
  • 347,000 had a heating system powered by gas and 214,000 had a heating system powered by electricity.

The average single-family house completed was 2,598 square feet.

Of the 307,000 multifamily units started in 2013, 23,000 were age-restricted.

Of the 195,000 multifamily units completed in 2013:

  • 14,000 were age-restricted.
  • 129,000 were heated with electricity and 64,000 were heated with gas.
  • 91,000 had two or more bathrooms.
  • 79,000 had one bedroom and 27,000 had three or more bedrooms.

The average square footage of multifamily units built for rent was 1,082.

Of the 10,000 multifamily buildings completed in 2013:

  • 5,000 had one or two floors.
  • 6,000 used electricity as the primary heating fuel.

Of the 429,000 single-family homes sold in 2013:

  • 120,000 used vinyl siding as the principle type of exterior wall material, while only 12,000 used wood.
  • 300,000 had 2-car garages, whereas 98,000 had garages for three cars or more.
  • 207,000 had one fireplace and 20,000 had two or more fireplaces.

The average sales price of new single-family homes sold was $324,500, compared with the average price of $292,200 in 2012.

The average price per square foot for new single-family homes sold was $93.70.

The average new single-family home sold was built on a lot of 15,456 square feet.

91,000 contractor-built single-family homes were started in 2013.

The average contract price was $298,000.

 

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Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:41 | 4817739 Belrev
Belrev's picture

Today JUNE 2, 2014 Ukrainian jet bombed the center of East Ukrainian city Luhansk killing at least 5 civilians

See how American Democracy looks in reality to the people that it is forced upon

VERY GRAPHIC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0k2OgkFmLM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z57nwcJzd84

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnjKg4m_eNQ

https://pp.vk.me/c540103/c7006/v7006489/1401e/XI5FljoiUeA.jpg

 

This deserves a news post, please.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:47 | 4817754 Belrev
Belrev's picture

I know. But that one is more fighting footage and not very shocking. The international public needs to be brought to its senses by their shock and awe. Thanks anyway.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:09 | 4817838 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Yeah, if only it worked that way.

Infotainment to desensitize the masses.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:40 | 4818133 LawyerScum
LawyerScum's picture

"Swallowing half an hour before closing time, that second dose of soma had raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds."

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:15 | 4818200 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

removed

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:53 | 4817782 I MISS KUDLOW
I MISS KUDLOW's picture

so what is the ukraine situation REALLY over? pipelines to europe for oil and gas?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:11 | 4817841 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

See Brzezinski's "Grand Chessboard" for details.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:49 | 4818979 I MISS KUDLOW
I MISS KUDLOW's picture

THANKS

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:48 | 4817760 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Not even bothering to see it was posted hours ago is just trifflin'

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:54 | 4817783 blabam
blabam's picture

Fuck... I skipped over the VERY GRAPHIC text. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:28 | 4817883 p00k1e
p00k1e's picture

Do a google image search for 'depleted uranium in Iraq'.

Notice the babies.  Rumor is, Bush did that on behalf of the good citizens of America. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:55 | 4817973 JuliaS
Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:44 | 4818634 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

You get down-voted for trying to derail the topic at hand.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:45 | 4817745 Gene Parmesan
Gene Parmesan's picture

Man, that house pictured on the main page brings back some memories.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:47 | 4817757 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Gene, you still work for the Bluth's from time to time?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:59 | 4818010 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

There's money in the banana stand.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:43 | 4818633 Midas
Midas's picture

Last time I went by the house it had a bunch of sex offenders on the block.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:46 | 4817753 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

2,500 squares is hardly in the realm of 'mansion', I had that in a 3 bedroom 2 bath.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:51 | 4817773 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Just think, if that house was in London, it would be a steal at $10m.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:51 | 4817776 COSMOS
COSMOS's picture

All that liquidity has to go into something.  Bigger house means bigger utilities especially in real hot and cold places, and bigger property taxes. Gore had a mansion up in Tennessee and his Green Bill was pretty big if I remember correctly while he was telling all of us to cut back.

By the way that park wedding for his daughter's second marriage was all propaganda. Trust me, there was a lavish wedding somewhere in Italy or the Swiss Alps at an exclusive hotel away from prying eyes.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:53 | 4817780 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Yeh, Mr. Global Warming had a 10,000 sf home.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:15 | 4817856 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

To be fair, most of the square footage was for his ego.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:24 | 4818093 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

Well, he did invent the internet.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:03 | 4818026 Da Yooper
Da Yooper's picture

And I have my card board box down by the river

But it is a NEW card board box

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:46 | 4818337 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Just think of all the money you're saving on insurance, vehicle registration, fuel, and maintenance by not living in a van.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:53 | 4817986 Blankenstein
Blankenstein's picture

Al's energy use from his Tennessee mansion:  

"Armed with Gore's utility bills for the last two years, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research charged Monday that the gas and electric bills for the former vice president's 20-room home and pool house devoured nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006, more than 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilowatt-hours"

"$29,268 in gas and electric bills for the Gores in 2006, $31,512 in 2005"

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/GlobalWarming/story?id=2906888&page=1

 

And one can also conclude by the size of his huge ass, his food bill is also very large.

 


Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:42 | 4818317 Peak Finance
Peak Finance's picture

The sheeple are just dumb.

The ENTIRE POINT of a high-celing stone "McMansion" here in the south is that it stays cool in the summer WITHOUT AC, you open the huge front doors and the huge rear glass doors to let the brezzes through, turn on the AC only on hot nights.  This is what I do down here in S FL actually (No, I don't live in a McMansion) I use breezes and natrual cover to keep my place cool and only use AC on hot nights. 

Your not supposded to seal the place up like a drum and central AC the whole place to 75 degrees, and, you should not have to if the place was built right!  Some people just love giving money to FPL I guess. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:15 | 4818068 Weisshaupt
Weisshaupt's picture

I agree, and  that 2500 number is the average.  THe median is a better measure since one Al Gore sized  house throws off the Average.  A 2300 sq ft home is quite comfortable,  and large by 1960 standards I suppose, back when most tract homes were 1600-1800 sq feet and built in Ranch style. Modern homes added another 600-800 square feet? Thats a SINGLE 8x10 room folks.  Or if you insist on using the avergage its a 10x10 room ..Be that a formal living room, a office/study or an extra bedroom, that hardly moves it into "mansion" territory.  My first home was 1800 finished sq feet. I finished the basement while I lived there - then it was 2700 sqaure feet. Guess I lived in a mansion and never knew it.  How deplorable of me.  

Seriously what makes the phenomenon awful is the attached  3 Car garage, the boring cookie cutter nature of the homes, the  4000 Sq foot lot they squeeze it on, and the ridiculous  asking price that has most spending 40% of thier income on a mortgage - usually justified so they can be  near a "good" govt school indoctrination center.  But we all know why the prices are going up, and its not because the homes are getting much bigger, and its not because they are getting much better ( A/C, insulation etc) - but because the value of the dollar itself is falling, and a house is the first thing they want you to buy with the freshly printed money they gave to the banks 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:28 | 4818597 Overfed
Overfed's picture

Ummm....10X10 is only 100 square feet.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:21 | 4818085 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

//

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:20 | 4818445 Bogdog
Bogdog's picture

Forget the Ferengi at the door. That's one butt-ugly house.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:44 | 4818635 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

It's the damn average.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 00:24 | 4819211 Walt D.
Walt D.'s picture

Depends where you live - in NYC a mansion is defined as anything that sells for more than $1 million. A 700 sq Manhattan studio apartment qualifies as a mansion.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:47 | 4817759 tradebot
tradebot's picture

+1

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:49 | 4817764 TheFreeLance
TheFreeLance's picture

Here in the ATL burbs in-fill development with $600-800K homes is back like herpes. We're talking 5000-6000 sq ft homes smashed into the smallest possible lots. Totally normal for two half-acre mid-century ranches to be knocked down and and 4 or even 5 McMansions sprout in their place. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:51 | 4817777 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Need somewhere for the "Housewives" to live.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:56 | 4817789 centerline
centerline's picture

Doing the same thing where I am (central Florida).  $500k+ right down the road from me.  Big houses crammed in like sardines.  Started to really get going again late last year.

Place is starting to look and feel like Palm Beach to Miami... one big, endless sprawl of housing and retail with paralyzing traffic.  Zombie central when the S hits the F.

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:05 | 4818031 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

LOL Nothing says "Look at what a success I am!" like a 5000 sq ft house on 1/8 of an acre where if you flop your dick out the bathroom window you cold cock your neighbor and she gets a black eye.

It AMAZES me the amount people will pay for status whoring in a Chinese drywall disposable albatross house in a HOA that would make Kim Jong uncomfortable.

Winning! You simple ****s.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:44 | 4818326 centerline
centerline's picture

+infinity for the asswipes who live such lives.  Fuck em.  Fuck em all.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:49 | 4817766 ShrNfr
ShrNfr's picture

But the 2014 peso is worth 1/10th the 1978 peso. After adjusting for inflation, housing is really not all that different.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:50 | 4817772 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Housing bubble 2.0.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:51 | 4817774 teslaberry
teslaberry's picture

but this is soviet proporganda ,and if it isn't its ameircan. everything is proporganda . there is no truth. 

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:51 | 4817775 ZeroPoint
ZeroPoint's picture

And the majority of them will be on quarter acre lots. Try not to feel like you are in a bee colony.

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:57 | 4817797 centerline
centerline's picture

It's okay.  Most people have a hive mentality anyhow!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:08 | 4818040 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive, oh oh
It's driven me before, it seems to be the way
That everyone else get around
Lately, I'm beginning to find that when I drive myself, my light is found

Drive, Incubus

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:47 | 4818339 centerline
centerline's picture

nice.  You know what I listened to the other day?  An old one.  12 minute long song.  Dire Straights - Telegraph Road.  Give it a whirl.  Let me know what you think.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:11 | 4818550 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

I'll dial it up - thanks!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:29 | 4818606 Overfed
Overfed's picture

The live version on "Money for Nothin'" is awesome.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:01 | 4817809 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Back in the late 80's I did landscaping work on McMansions in a suburb of MD.

These were $500,000 brick colonials near a golf course (built on an old dairy farm) and the houses were maybe 12 feet apart, directly parallel, windows facing windows.

They were so close the plants on the sides of the houses never got any direct sunlight.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:21 | 4817870 McMolotov
McMolotov's picture

In the city, the technical term for that space is an "alley."

I have no idea why anyone would want to pay out the ass to get out of the city only to live 12 feet from the asshole next door whose dog always shits in your yard.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:56 | 4817791 Zirpedge
Zirpedge's picture

...and they are still made out of sticks (step up from adobe) like they never heard about the three pigs. 

The new architecture will carve out social centers amid dense urban housing and agriculture. We will not have a hydrogen economy at the end of the oil age. We will need to scale back our ambitions and be more efficient in all aspects of our lives.

If you want to be a good neighbor in the post industial society, develop a useful skill like gardening or knitting.

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:58 | 4817802 zipit
zipit's picture

We are gonna need a lot of knitters down here in San Diego.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:00 | 4817805 sleigher
sleigher's picture

blacksmith  or maybe gunsmith...

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:58 | 4817800 Charles Nelson ...
Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

yes, in my County (Frederick Co. Md) the taxes are based on living space.  There are thousands of these Agenda 21 properties that are 4000 sq ft. plus built on less than 0.25 acre lot in an HOA "Community".  Most of the single family homes are going for $550k-$650k.  These fukking dumbass buyers are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the construction costs of the properties.  Most of these people are pompous consumers who drive Mercedes & BMW's and are probably up to their eyeballs in debt.

My wife and I rented a townhome in this community for a year, I was appalled and sickened by how these people lived their lives.  We are under contract on a home about 10 miles from our rental.  Our new home is on 1.5 acres, has garden beds and a solar heating system intact.  It's about 2000 sq ft. and the taxes are half of what these knuckleheads in the HOA community pay.  Our mortgage payment will probably be less than those idiots car payments.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:02 | 4817816 sleigher
sleigher's picture

I am looking at unrestricted land north of Atlanta in the hills nearing NC state line.  4 to 10 acres anywhere from 10k to 50k depending on river/views...  I could care less about the views but a river on the property would be ideal.  Will build myself something over the next few years or so.  Or if the SHTF at least I have somewhere to get out of the cities.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:06 | 4817827 centerline
centerline's picture

There is some nice property up north past Canton.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 00:07 | 4819172 August
August's picture

I'd try to buy a place on/near Warwoman Creek, if only for the name.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:16 | 4817854 Smegley Wanxalot
Smegley Wanxalot's picture

EPA is laying claim to all the waterways and ponds in the country, and is laying restrictions down on shitloads of properties.  Beware - those totalitarian EPA fucks are the ones who taser anyone who disagree with their dictates.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:10 | 4818047 TheFreeLance
TheFreeLance's picture

As I've mentioned here before, I've been watching GA-TN-NC property in that area just because it is so hard to hide weak demand and low values -- the market is very shallow. Current owners are nearing panic stage for property they thought would either produce income, or they'd be able to retire into. The latter is off the table as they realize they will likely never retire and hence cannot move away from employment centers like ATL or CLT. In the meantime, props have not been kept up and many are likely worth much less than tax value. And in just the past week I've come across a new phenom -- bank-owned HALF-FINISHED props. How that came to pass I don't know, without a CoOccupancy, who ever OK'd the trust? But we are talking fire-sales.

Land might still be an option, but I'd also consider bringing cash to the table for 2 or 3 beatup, adjacent props and seeing if you can use someone's jam to your advantage. They are on the hook for those tax bills come October. Good luck.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:25 | 4818095 sleigher
sleigher's picture

I really have tried to stay away from anything with buildings on it.  Just unrestricted land with water on it or maybe a well.  I have no problem working with my hands clearing trees or brush and would rather do the labor than spend the money if you know what I mean.  I will build my own structure and take as long as I need to do it.  I work from home as it is now and am not tied to anywhere as far as emloyment centers go.  There are a lot of forclosed property out there with no structures on them.  

The 2 or 3 adjacent properties is an interesting thought.  I have seen ads for acerage where they say more is available.  They are probably splitting up larger tracts.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:49 | 4818655 dirtyfiles
dirtyfiles's picture

yea but this is like going to the best restaurant for recognition not Mc Donalds for savings dough

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:02 | 4817814 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

"...the only logical explanation for this latest push to build ever bigger houses is a simple one: size matters."

Not true.  The explanation is simply that the flood of CHEAP "MONEY" has to go somewhere...

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:05 | 4817820 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I hate visiting people in McMansion Land. Huge cathedral ceilings seem garish. Palatial dining rooms used as storage and obviously only used at thanksgiving. A big screen tv in every room including the bathroom ( for god sake why? So we won't miss anything going to the bathroom...huh?) Postage stamp back yards with absolutely no privacy from the neighbors. No places for kids to play. Not they would be allowed to anyway being so busy with organized sports. Garages stuffed to the brim with crap.

I can't wait to go home to my little farm on the dirt road. It's funny when they visit us. What the hell do you do here? Why don't you have a TV? The quiet makes their skin crawl and they are afraid to go out because they may see a snake.

Miffed;-)

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:08 | 4817834 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

A client of mine claimed to have 17 TVs with one in the master bath. He was a nice caring fellow. Odd.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:11 | 4817844 centerline
centerline's picture

lol.  We took our dining room table, turned it sideways and use it as a desk with a computer.  Behind it is a piano now that I inherented recently (an old upright, nothing fancy).  Office/guest room was converted to a music room (drums/guitars/etc.)... both my kids play in school.  Our back yard is turned in a garden - and my garage a workshop for repairing whatever breaks (friends come over frequently for help with cars, welding, repairs of household things, etc.).  The Joneses in my neightborhood think we are nuts.

 

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:13 | 4817852 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

The lot my house is on is many, many times the size of the house itself.  I did it that way on purpose.  I guess you have to be a "doomer" to understand that...

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:19 | 4817863 centerline
centerline's picture

Having space and the ability to what you want on your property is really nice for sure.  I live in a neighborhood that is not an HOA, but there are some rules (deed restrictions).  So, I have to keep the front in compliance.  The rear faces nobody.  I am free to play with that.  I dream of more property and no rules though.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:17 | 4817859 headhunt
headhunt's picture

Hell, every time a politician comes on TV they see a snake, should be used to that.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:22 | 4817871 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Everyone likes nice things. I mean why not, unless of course you have to pay for them and then things might look a little different. Working in and around construction most of my life I see two pretty distinct homeowners. Those that spend for the things they like and those who spend for what they think everyone else likes. The first group tends to invest in high quality architecture and furnishings while the second group buys what they think everyone else likes and to be sure, puts it on display where everyone can see it. Houses oversized on their lots so they look even bigger and landscaping removed or contrasted to show off more of the house. People less shallow put their houses where they can't be seen as readily. I live within 15 miles of a metropolitan center on 50 acres and no one can see my home unless they are invited or fly over it. I don't give a shit if anyone knows what I have or where I live and hope few do. My home is for me.

Personally I'm glad large homes are selling again. While I love where I live it is expensive and I won't be able to work much longer and still afford the property taxes. I was afraid I might have to die there, which wouldn't be all that bad (but I'm afraid my life insurance may be looking a bit smart to my wife soon) if I can leave on my own terms.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:36 | 4817910 Big Corked Boots
Big Corked Boots's picture

My 'formal dining room' has been converted into a grow space where I started tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc. Later on I'll be rooting cuttings for ornamentals... hopefully there will be a market for them since many of the McMansions around here have no landscaping or dead landscaping. Apparently the owners can't be bothered to water the plants.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:51 | 4817976 prymythirdeye
prymythirdeye's picture

Making me laugh sooo hard!  It's just like that all around where I grew up in CT, including my sister's house when she was married.  Too funny!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:18 | 4818078 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

There's state park called Cherry Springs 3 hours away from me.

It's a dark sky site and the star field is spectacular; image search it on google.

I'd rather have 15 acres of desert under a primordial starry sky than a 500K McMansion on 1/8 an acre.

Bring a tent, canteen and a sense of wonder. All others - stay home.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:45 | 4818160 alexcojones
alexcojones's picture

MM, Always enjoy your posts, the humor, insight and tough-ass sensitivity.

For many years, I lived at the Top-of-The-Food-Chain Homeless in Greater LA.  Four types of homeless. (1) Shopping Carters (2) Forest Dwellers: living in the cloverleafs and shrubs around the WLA VA.  (3) Squatters in shelters (4) Rolling Homeless. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, living quietly in their vans and campers on the quieter city streets. I lived feet from my work, in my VW van, in Santa Monica. SM is very tolerant of the homeless; people say too much so. 

Now living with family or friends as full time couch surfer and colorful oddball. Be as helpful as possible BUT Always move before you wear out your welcome, is my mantra and code.

Oh yes, the Southwest desert is still pretty wild and free. You just drive off the road in your ancient (mine) SUV, but be careful of turtles.  Heard that Bundy Ranch is always looking for ranch hands.

AC

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 23:28 | 4819081 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Tx alex. I think colorful oddball is a fine profession. I am a bit of one myself but I must admit I envy your freedom. Between 8 and 11 I lived on Zuma Beach in Malibu. One of the happiest carefree times of my life. But in the 70s Malibu was a lazy unpretentious town. Though I miss the beach, I couldn't put up with the ostentatious phoniness so prevalent in Cali coastal towns now even if I had the money.

Miffed;-)

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:06 | 4818397 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Its the phones in the crappers ,and bathrooms that get me .

Maybe they don't do that anymore with everyone having cells.

Last place I would take mine.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:04 | 4817821 Smegley Wanxalot
Smegley Wanxalot's picture

The author has a real bug up his ass about McMansions.  It's not my choice in neighborhoods, but other people can do what they want.

Oh yeah, and if the average price was 324,500 and the average square footage is 2598, how do you get an average price per foot of $93.70?  Quick math off the top of my head is about $124/foot.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:23 | 4818088 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

No one has said anything about restricting a fool and his money from being parted; you like your 500K hive cell, have at it.

Those of us who rejected our programming will make mock of you, though.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:37 | 4818124 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

value of land is different for each property.
that's a major factor affecting "per sq.ft" pricing models.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:53 | 4818354 Peak Finance
Peak Finance's picture

Yea, but, It kinda does hurt me though. It hurts me directly. 

I live very frugually, but, the slightest home improvement project give me sticker shock at the cost of materials for the simplest upgrades. My electricty is going up 5% this year due to demand on the grid for people that AC their fucking McMansions all day long so it's nice and cool when they get home, blah blah blah.

People being wasteful and extravagent drives up the prices for everyone, we all suffer. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:05 | 4817822 Frank N. Beans
Frank N. Beans's picture

we may be seeing the peak here, as there are now McNugget homes you can buy, like 800 sq ft that are self-contained.  Seen them on the news.  Sell for around $30K and some are easily moved to a new location.   If you don't mind tight quarters, this could be for you. 

But it means people (some) are looking to downsize quite literally. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:20 | 4817869 centerline
centerline's picture

That trend is early - but might very well be the future.  Makes alot of sense.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:09 | 4817836 skipjack
skipjack's picture

 The sheeple NEED big houses because junior and juniorette are still living at home. Why form new households when there's still plenty of space for the kids :)

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:13 | 4817851 AccreditedEYE
AccreditedEYE's picture

"the most deplorable characteristics of US society - the relentless urge to build massive McMansions "

Look, you Brits (I'm assuming this is from UK?) can poke fun at the ZIRP circus, the joke that is global DM capital markets today, the decline of Middle Class, and on, and on... blah blah. If you're insulting the American desire to have "bigger" living space, you can piss off. I'm actually kind of proud Americans still fight the Euro push to get Americans into "flats" and cram us like sardines into some PE Fund-owned residential condo. You can insult "bigger is better" all day long, but in the end, you never see those moving up the Forbes list of billionaires settling for LESS sq feet or smaller cars or smaller anything... EVER. Who the hell doesn't want a pool, 2 car garage and some room to stretch out and relax.

Your only story here is insulting those who cannot pay for what they buy. (and to that point I firmly agree) Insulting upward living standards is just retarded. And don't play the Eco card because it's pure BS.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:34 | 4817904 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Yeah! What he said!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:30 | 4818106 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

SOLD! Closing on a 750K house Friday because reasons.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:19 | 4817861 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Color me shocked that there were 50,000 homes built without A/C.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:28 | 4817884 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Alaska and Maine are booming?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:26 | 4817878 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

Every home in America is a McMansion, and now eligible for a McMansion reverse mortgage, why pay off fraud when you can leverage and inflate it to another generation?

 

"Wow what a great way to cover up mass fraud and bad debt than to take out an even larger loan against it"

 

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:29 | 4817887 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

The Chinese are going to want something nice to live in when they come repossess.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:49 | 4817964 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

Latinos are already openly hunting Asians in LA & orange county CA, they aint repossessing nothin, gonna be a lot of dead asians in So Cal soon, they are a competing tribe, not a co-looting tribe.

Mexicans and Chinese got nothng in common except occupation.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:51 | 4817977 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

For sport?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:40 | 4818134 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

 

Not sure about that, but one coastal Socal city has a mix of Cambodian, Latino and black gangs. Certain hoods are nasty.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:48 | 4817966 prymythirdeye
prymythirdeye's picture

Biggest myth going.  China is no more a threat to "repossess" anything than I am.  You're watching the wrong hand.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:22 | 4818575 laomei
laomei's picture

Simple shit really, Chinese go snap up property in the US.  If anything comes along which upsets those property rights, China simply starts seizing all US assets while trashing the USD until the US is left as a rotting swamp, with no investors, as the US at that point has shown that it is unsafe.  The US gets back some worthless land, and China gets to claim the heart of the US economy.  Gonna suck for all those companies that have staked their viability on China, but them's the breaks.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:41 | 4817932 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

I like the childless couple in their 50's searching for their "dream" home on HGTV: 5,000 sf, 4 to 5 bedrooms, 3-1/2 to 5 baths. I think they are trying to fill there pathetic empty lives and maybe shooting for an investment return.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:45 | 4817953 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

2450 sq ft (1000 sq ft that I finished off in the basement) 4 bed/2.5 bath for me, my wife, and two kids.  Too much space for me and the family.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:53 | 4817988 p00k1e
p00k1e's picture

Dang, how many cats can live in a 5,000 Sq Ft place?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:56 | 4818002 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

A couple of dogs as well.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:33 | 4818111 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Confusous say: A 5000 sq ft home cannot fill the 100K sq ft hole in your soul.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:57 | 4818179 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

He who go through airport turn style sideways is going to Bangcock.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:44 | 4817943 overexposed
overexposed's picture

The data broken down by region reveals something unexpected: after nearly two decades of supremacy for the Northeast in having the largest new homes, for the bast couple of years the region where the largest homes are built is the South.

This is not unexpected at all -- The entire Northeast is moving South (and bringing their idiotic public policy preferences with them).  Yay, socialism!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:46 | 4817956 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Local school systems love these. They can tax the owners into bankruptcy. And the taxes only go up to pay for the public pensions.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:54 | 4817967 NuYawkFrankie
NuYawkFrankie's picture

They hate us for our McNugget-stuccoed McMansions...

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:50 | 4817972 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Are most of these homes double brick or are they timber frame?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:52 | 4817982 Joebloinvestor
Joebloinvestor's picture

This is not surprising.

Not everyone is going broke in the US or world.

Will just be a smaller population of extremly wealthy vs the rest of the "worse off".

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:54 | 4817991 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

so big houses are evil?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:02 | 4818018 Quus Ant
Quus Ant's picture

nothing is ever evil and there will never be enough.  EVA. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:00 | 4818016 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

A  guy needs a big house for the gun room, shop, indoor garden and a guy needs a second story to get a better angle on intruders. 2500 sq ft is just a starter compound.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:15 | 4818062 Dre4dwolf
Dre4dwolf's picture

2000~3000 sq ft is a lot? wtf is everyone supposed to do ? live in a fucking 400 sq ft cubicle? 

Everyone should have 10,000 Sq.ft atleast per family in a "sane" world, where we dont live shoulder to shoulder like sociopaths.

Maybe if people had some distance, privacy and peace and quiet the world would be a less violent place.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:25 | 4818586 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

Most people lived in 1500 sqft homes or less until the 60s and with bigger families too. The problem isn't with the size of the home but the way we treat each other.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:33 | 4818613 Comte d'herblay
Comte d'herblay's picture

We lived in one of those, built it, 1100 SF.  I believe this one of the main reasons my parents hated one another.  They could never find a space of their own with two children, without leaving the house.  

Crowding, packed density is responsible for more crime, and opportunities for crime than any other factor.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:19 | 4818076 ncdirtdigger
ncdirtdigger's picture

McMansion my arse, My effing basement is 3200 sqft. How do people live in these little cracker boxes?

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:19 | 4818079 yellowsub
yellowsub's picture

If you lived up northeast and sold your home, you can easily trade up down south or midwest and may end up with some change in your pocket.  

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:29 | 4818104 deerhunter
deerhunter's picture

neighobor bought a ranch 3 bedroom at the height of the craze for 495 when homes were appraising for low 300's.  I told the wife they must have moved here from DC, California or NYC.  They did,  moved here from left coast and thought they had a bargain.  It now appraises for 220k.  Yikes.   

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:37 | 4818123 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

Home bubblers need to start building multigenerqational housing. detached rear gararge with a carriage hoime for junior and his GF or bride and 2-story  main house with a bedroo, and full bathroom downstairs for gramma and grampa. call it 450 to 500 SF over the garage and 1,250 to 1,450 main house; still under 2,000 SF overall. Not if - when

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:51 | 4818659 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Indeed, Amil below has confirmed your thoughts.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 01:37 | 4819324 Wahooo
Wahooo's picture

That's how the Somalis do it.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:44 | 4818150 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

Cracking The Code: Tiny Houses And Building Codes ebook
http://thetinylife.com/cracking-the-code-tiny-houses-and-building-codes/

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:50 | 4818166 Amil Muzz
Amil Muzz's picture

I'm in the business and in my experience some of the growth in floor plans is for multi-generational living. For example, our largest floor plans include in-law suites which have become very popular.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:26 | 4818263 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Also with higher efficiency homes you can maintain them much more cheaply, and yards not so much as they are only going to get more expensive with time given water restrictions and runoff issues. If we could just get the tax man off our backs!

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:51 | 4818656 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Good point.  I wondered whether that was factored in.  If people are willing to care for their parents, why not design it into a new home.  Cheaper than so-called assisted living and you can get help from organizations like "visiting angels".  

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 17:52 | 4818170 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Obviously, if you have something bigger and better than mine, you don't need it or deserve it.

I think that pretty much defines our modern world.

It is troubling that high priced homes are doing so much better that all the rest, and the divide between upper and lower income groups is widening for sure. I just don't want to get into the envy trap because it is not productive for anyone. It only destroys wealth and creates nothing but power for those using these disparities to their own advantage.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:49 | 4818654 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

I don't think it's about envy, it's about prudence.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:01 | 4818189 Vidbizz
Vidbizz's picture

I'm getting rid of my McMansion.  Too many people built around me.  Just bought a 2300SF home on 2 acres on a dirt road.  No mortgage, no HOA.  Moving in over summer - can't wait.  Gonna set up an archery range out back & practice for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:01 | 4818190 Vidbizz
Vidbizz's picture

I'm getting rid of my McMansion.  Too many people built around me.  Just bought a 2300SF home on 2 acres on a dirt road.  No mortgage, no HOA.  Moving in over summer - can't wait.  Gonna set up an archery range out back & practice for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:09 | 4818213 Rick Blaine
Rick Blaine's picture

I'm 100% convinced we're in some sort of housing bubble again...at least in certain areas...like out here in Scottsdale.

Some of the shit they are throwing together up in, for example, DC Ranch is just amazing to see given the shitstorm that hit this area back in '06/'07.

There is one spot where two-story, 2500-3000 sq ft homes are going up right now.  From what I can tell, they have basically no yards at all...and they are close enough that any reasonably athletic person could jump rooftop to rooftop...

I heard last week they were STARTING at like $2.3M.

Yes, that is a darn nice area...but that's just absurd.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:23 | 4818259 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

You had better hurry up and get a deposit on one of them before the price goes up! Just be sure to tell everyone what a great deal you are getting and how the properties in the area can only go up. You have to reinforce the demand so when you are ready to flip next year there will still be eager buyers lined up and waiting.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:48 | 4818652 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Why have a yard?  After all, Mr. & Mrs. Fat America and their fat offspring need at least 2 media rooms or they'll kill one another. 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 18:38 | 4818309 yogibear
yogibear's picture

The Federal Reserve and Wall Street want the animal spirits. It's the best time for them to unload to the retail investors.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:08 | 4818401 wmh_ZH
wmh_ZH's picture

 

The Chinese are buying up the place:

 

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/485-Harvard-Dr-Arcadia-CA-91007/208885...

03/29/14 Listed for sale $3,590,000+299%     11/16/12 Sold $900,000+18.7%     09/20/04 Sold $758,000
Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:42 | 4818501 JailBanksters
JailBanksters's picture

A shame you can't actually Quantify Ugly.

Then you would be able to see the Ugliness of homes has increased at the square of how many square feet has increased. The Bigger they are, the cheaper they are made the Uglier they look.

Maybe it's a sign of the Times, they know how F'ed the Country is and want a house big enough for their Kids Families as well.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 19:52 | 4818518 D-Fens
D-Fens's picture

This is all financed by cheap rates and likely to end very badly.

I'm not an expert in construction but I'm convinced most houses don't have the quality they once did.  I saw the decline in the 90s.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 11:17 | 4820130 Bemused Observer
Bemused Observer's picture

NOTHING has the quality is used to have. Everything made today is crap...pure crap.
Why would anyone who HAS that kind of money buy such crap? Those new houses are horrible, I've been in some of them, the overall impression you get (when you know what to look for) is that a strong wind will take the whole thing away. Yeah, they're BIG, but they are shoddily-built, out of inferior materials...because decent materials are either too expensive, or just not available.
All those little perqs, like the A/C, the pools, etc, are just window-dressing to give the illusion of quality.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:29 | 4818602 Comte d'herblay
Comte d'herblay's picture

Where are you from??  3,000 SF, more or less hardly qualifies as any kind of mansion, Mc or otherwise.

It's barely enough space to house a family of 4 unless you are a poverty stricken breeder with 5 kids, living in a 1,000 SF hovel.

Just to avoid killing each other, the space for each person's needs, is 700 sf, and that's only 30 X 25, nevermind what is required for common space like bathrooms and kitchens.

 

 

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:47 | 4818643 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

Yeah, I just don't know how America or anywhere in the world made it this far without those 3,000 sq homes.....sheesh.   Well, someday you may learn the meaning of spoiled.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:31 | 4818610 world_debt_slave
world_debt_slave's picture

Bully for the 1%.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 20:45 | 4818639 thamnosma
thamnosma's picture

In this age I wouldn't consider A/C a luxury item and those homes built without it are likely somewhere on the west coast.

As for the rest, awful.   I guess nobody is learning a thing.  

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:13 | 4818867 pholosophy1
pholosophy1's picture

And these McMansions are likely still using 1950's plumbing, HVAC infrastructure, windows and insulation... In otherwords, McMansions where the only "technology" employed is to lower the cost of manufacture ie; Oriented Strand Board, Plastic, Stick built and stapled together as cheaply as possible.  So the McMansions of the "rich" class are mostly American junk built to depreciate as close to the 23 years allowed by law. 

As for the rest of the in debt college grads trying to become part of the elites, well plenty of apartment buildings are being built with the latest trend "Micro Units" under 300 sq ft.  Live in your little box sucker.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 22:23 | 4818890 hairball48
hairball48's picture

Since I'm old and relatively poor, I'm considering downsizing and buying a  rehabilitated a  shipping container.

Oh, I forgot! FEMA is readying one for me.

Cool! Now I can spend my savings and help the economy

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 07:33 | 4819584 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The 'american' middle class will always find new ways to increase their consumption.

First thing to notice, the 'american' middle class is so hurt that they get only bigger houses and not bigger than biggest houses, the only size accepted by the 'american' middle class.

That is why 'americans' depict the 'american' middle class as being trashed: they get bigger houses, yes indeed, but not bigger enough. That is the death of the 'american' middle class.

Second thing to point: consumption is not a matter of number of people only as 'americans' would like to. 'American' middle classers will always find new ways to increase their consumption. The overconsumption will keep going even with a reduction of the number of the 'american' middle class.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 07:57 | 4819621 FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

We're fucking trapped!

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:07 | 4819762 giggler321
giggler321's picture

diff in UK.  probably inverse with everything getting smaller, knob & brain included.  there is no bedroom size requirement, in fact the only thing they seem concerned about @ your local building control is have u paid? every1 here will be lucky if they get to live in a mcnugget box, forget mcmansion.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 15:22 | 4820944 Paulson Bazooka
Paulson Bazooka's picture

Part of the reason for this is that with high overhead (permits, taxes, land prices), it doesn't cost much more over the already high price to make the house bigger. It's the same reason it doesn't cost much more to supersize a fast food order. These effects would be less if we didn't live in such a high-overhead society due to the burdens of taxes, regulations, and supporting large numbers of government workers and transfer payment recipients.

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 16:13 | 4821130 mkhs
mkhs's picture

And people give up this information willingly?

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