Aug 13

Large Footprints Show Up in Bergen County Real Estate Listings

Last week’s jobs report met familiar disagreement about the progress of the nation’s economic recovery: more new jobs, yes; too many of them part-time: yes; economy improving: sort of; enough? barely– if at all…etc. etc. etc.

What is less controversial is the resumption of the nation’s home-buying preference for ever-larger homes. The price of real estate listings in Bergen County might have risen whether or not that trend surfaced in our area, but it stands to reason that if people are reversing their decision to downsize, that’s at least one reason why average real estate listings prices would register an increase. The tilt toward more square footage isn’t confined to existing homes, either: reports from the Census Bureau show that the median size of new houses is growing as well (about 8% since 2009).

Seen another way: McMansions may be on the way back.

During the recession, most experts opined that the McMansion days were over. As the stability of the economy faltered, young buyers had grown cautious, taking care not to choose more house than they needed. This as baby boomers downsized to match their shrinking nest eggs. Larger houses — especially the new McMansions — fell out of vogue. The popular press leaped in, portraying spacious residences as energy-sucking, less-than-green artifacts of unsustainable prosperity. It’s small wonder how some leading experts concluded that a new housing era was upon us.

But now it is increasingly evident that consumers didn’t actually want less space. Many just couldn’t afford more (or feared a less certain future). The trend toward more multi-generational living arrangements may have something to do with it — but whatever the cause, the character of real estate listings in Bergen County is changing once again. More prospective buyers are looking at bigger homes and demanding more living space. So don’t be surprised if you find more area real estate listings that emphasize their larger square footage. They may not be McMansions, but spacious residences are renewing their popularity. In any case, should you consider buying or selling in town this fall, call me today to talk about the market in your neighborhood of Bergen County