By MilitaryByOwner, Dawn M. Smith
Spurned by a depressed economy, tiny house living was embraced by many across generational boundaries to avoid financial entanglements. Whether it was the lack of a down payment or the desire to live free and clear of a mortgage, space-restricted houses seemed to be the answer.
But, as the economy improves, more homeowners are seeking to increase their square footage. Upsizing is embraced not only by the tiny house defectors, but Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Gen Xers. Their reasons are different, but the desire to have a more satisfying quality of life through a larger home is the unifying factor.
Who is Upsizing?
It’s not difficult to understand why those living in tiny homes would ultimately want more space. The movement was strongly embraced by Millennials who were interested in living life through experiences outside of their homes, such as regular travel and frequent job changes.
As they age, their families are growing and the day-to-day management of efficient storage becomes burdensome. Even without children, those with very strict square footage parameters are missing the comforts of personal belongings not necessary for everyday living.
Gen Xers are known as the sandwich generation, meaning many are often caring for their own kids as well as aging parents. Additionally, young adult children and their parents are far more comfortable with the notion of living together well into the child’s late 20s and early 30s.
Gone are the days when older Gen Xers demand homes near the best education systems. Now, they can move into new neighborhoods without the restrictions of school boundaries. Homes with an already dedicated in-law suite or ranch style floor plan for easy access for family members with disabilities are on top of their wish lists.
With more money in their pockets, upsizing seems to make the most sense to establish comfortable living for everyone in the house. Renovations are plausible, but so is the purchase of a new home entirely.
As unlikely as it sounds, Baby Boomers are also on the hunt for more space. Traditionally, they look to downsize near or upon retirement, and they still do, but recent findings from the PulteGroup Inc.’s Baby Boomer survey reveals they also are attracted to more space in the forms of multi-car garages and more general storage.
The survey also revealed a surprising factor: when choosing their retirement home, Boomers are seriously considering the location and size of the house to incorporate their grandchildren’s daily lives. They want to live near their activities and events and also prefer homes that can accommodate sleepovers with the grandkids.
How Owners are Upsizing
Across the country, homes are growing in size. The 2000 census marked the median square footage of a home to be 2,000 square feet. The most current census raises the number to 2,500. Even though a depressed economy, the size of homes increased. Some experts trace the perseverance of large houses to pop culture, especially reality home improvement shows. The viewing audience perceives that the homes showcased are standard, and they should strive for the same.
Flexible space is an upsizing trend that captures all three generations’ attention today. Casual living is the preferred theme for homes, without the formality of closed-off rooms and dedicated dining spaces. Flexible or bonus rooms offer the opportunity for the owner to incorporate whatever function is needed. Empty nesters prefer guest and hobby rooms, Gen Xers use the extra space for aging parents who need a first-floor bedroom, and the youngest upsizers are skipping small, starter homes altogether.
Livable outdoor space continues to trend on top of the buyer’s most wanted lists. Upsizing to a home with a porch is rising in popularity. The National Association of Home Builders used their data to announce that 65% of new single-family homes had a porch. In most cases, it was a front porch, but side porches were present. This is an increase from 2005, where only 54% of new homes had porches.
In 2016, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama had the highest share in the United States at 86% of homes started with a porch. Mountain and Pacific’s states follow at 71% and 69%, respectively.
Considerations Before Upsizing
Upsizing to meet the needs and wants of homebuyers doesn’t come without financial considerations. Of course, more space likely means more costs involved, so pinpointing the exact reasons for the increase helps to understand how to make the most of the investment.
For example, if the homeowner’s current kitchen isn’t accommodating the entire family, then buying a new house with a more functional kitchen and unneeded extra bedrooms would be a waste of resources. A kitchen remodel or a smaller home with a better kitchen footprint might work better financially.
Increased property taxes, utility bills, and the costs of additional furniture also factor into overall spending for achieving more space. Some lucky homeowners find themselves in the sweet spot of real estate, where they own a home in a high-cost market and are able to sell for a profit, leaving a surplus of money after their upsized purchase.
Moving to a more affordable market often enables the buyer to achieve more house for less money. This is why it’s common to find retirees heading to the Carolinas, Arizona, and Florida. More house for less money. The pleasant weather doesn’t hurt, either!
As long as the economy remains stable or improves, upsizing a home according to a specific lifestyle or age bracket will likely remain popular.
Bio: MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc, Advertising Homes for Sale or Rent Near US Military Bases was founded by David (USMC, Ret.) and Sharon Gran in 2000. The mission is to connect relocating military families find, buy or sell a home near a military base. Our business advertisers provide valuable resources to help make a PCS move a smooth one. We strive to provide superior customer service by being available for questions through our live chat online, email and office hours. The majority of our staff is either military spouses, veterans or dependents who can relate to the joy and stress of a military move. Don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or live chat! Office: 866-604-9126 9am-5pm EST Email Live Chat 9am-9pm EST Check out MilitaryByOwner on Facebook and on Twitter.