Thursday, September 27, 2012

Better times mean bigger homes for Sacramento-area buyers - Real Estate - The Sacramento Bee

Better times mean bigger homes for Sacramento-area buyers - Real Estate - The Sacramento Bee: For years now, urban planners have predicted that homebuyers would opt for smaller houses in more urban-style neighborhoods when the real estate market recovers.

That's true for some. But with housing the cheapest it has been in decades, some buyers are returning to the large suburban tract homes that were hallmarks of the housing boom.

Homebuilders and housing experts say sales of larger homes have picked up in recent months, driven by customer demand.
Urban planning seems to assume the housing market aspires to urban living.  Not necessarily.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to speculate that most people don't want to share a wall with their neighbors. I don't think we all [ evolved / were created ] to live that way.

When condominium ownership was legalized in this country about 50 years ago, in the early 1960s, it was to benefit developers and municipalities, with more units and tax payers per square mile.

As with HOAs, the homeowner was not a consideration.

People bought into condominiums because it was what they could afford in a distorted housing market. A market that was, distorted in part, by the legalization of condominium ownership.

Another distortion was when we started thinking of our homes as "investments" rather than a place to live, and public policy reflected that attitude.

Which brings up one of many questions: Are these homes being bought by residents, or investors who are planning to flip and/or rent them?

Anonymous said...

Your comments were dead on, Fred.

From the article:
For years now, urban planners have predicted that homebuyers would opt for smaller houses in more urban-style neighborhoods when the real estate market recovers.

Urban planners ALWAYS push for smaller housing. Even worse their "walkable" world seems to always involve HOAs - or even worse, a condominium regime.

Smaller tends to be more affordable (as compared to larger) no matter what the economy is. The premise this group operated from was mere pretext to begin with.

The article reads more like an ad for Sacramento area homebuilders. Let's be real clear that the lots these homes are built on are not any larger.

KB, a national home builder with projects in Folsom, Lincoln and Roseville, said it has seen a 24 percent increase in the size of homes that its customers are buying in the Sacramento region, compared with a 17 percent increase nationwide.

In every one of these "planned communities", the builders dictates that you choose from one of M models and that model is only permitted to be built on pre-determined lots throughout the subdivision. Claiming that KB is seeing a 24 percent increase in the size of houses that customers are buying is more than a little disingenuous since KB dictates which models and on which lots those models can be built.

Let's also be clear that "urban" "more dense" housing is NOT the desire of buyers. As noted in the article:

[t]he regional "Blueprint" project adopted by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments urged a move toward denser, urban-style developments close to jobs and public transportation.

In other words "public policy" is pushing the "dense, urban-style development (complete with HOAs)" NOT consumer demand.

Fred Pilot said...

Another major factor that will more broadly disperse where people live is the Internet and the change out by forward looking communities of obsolete, investor-owned copper telephone cable with community owned fiber optic to the premise infrastructure.

Concurrently, commuting to office locations in urban centers and suburban office parks will grow increasingly unnecessary for information-based work since this advanced telecommunications infrastructure will allow it to be performed from home offices. Even meetings can be conducted in real time via videoconferencing.

Anonymous said...

Working from home, and having a home office, often requires bigger houses/more rooms.

When I was single and living by myself, I could make do with a one bedroom apartment. I didn't work from home then, but I could have.

But with a spouse and kids -- no way.

The first house my family owned in the early 1970s (built in the early 1950s), had just enough bedrooms for everybody (3). Back then, the idea of working from home was unthinkable, but today, a family of 4 would have had no place to use as a home office in that house.

And if the spouse works from home, the significant other will also need a room to use as a home office.

Here's the famous picture of Al Gore's home office:,29307,1622338_1363003,00.html

contrast with some of the "Workspace of the Week" photos from

F. Reed said...

I cannot understand people in the Unites States.
Help me.

The American Dream, the American Drelam, the American Dream.
Politicians keep saying it. What is it, for God’s sake?
Apparently it’s twenty grand on the Visa, upside down on the
mortgage on a shoddily built oversize McMansion in a remote
sterile suburb where you don’t know your neighbors, living
paycheck to paycheck, no savings, forty-five minute commute
to a job you hate in with gas prices rising. If that’s a
dream, better to stay awake.