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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







This deserves a news post, please.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 15:43 | 4817741 Tyler Durden
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


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


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"




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


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.

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