Living large is back: Mansions moving fast

Lavish dining rooms like this are not uncommon lately.

So much for small-footprint living. The recession’s minimal home trend was a brief respite from excess, it seems. Homeowners and homebuyers are upsizing: Living large is back (again).

“Nobody was buying them, these big homes were languishing,” says John Popp of RE/MAX Best Choice in Framingham. “I couldn’t give them away. But even the McMansions have been selling quickly for the past few months. One factor is that prices are good. The McMansion that was priced at $1.5 million five years ago is now $1.1 million. That makes a difference.”

Popp says developers are building new large homes, too. With a time investment of up to two years, that means builders are confident the trend will continue.

“But it’s not just McMansions,” adds Popp. “The interest rates are so low that first- time buyers aren’t going for a condo, they’re going for the Cape, and that has a ripple effect. The second-tier buyers are going for a much bigger home.”

Upsizing isn’t just a suburban trend either.  There’s a sharp increase of Boston developers, notably in the South End, returning multifamily brownstones to magnificent single-family homes.

“There is a change from the past few years, when developers and builders were downsizing houses to accommodate the downturn with our economy,” says William Raye of Engel & Volkers Boston. “According to data from the Census Bureau, the average size of a newly built home is up 3.7 percent from 2010 and represented the first annual increase since 2007.”

Size matters?

Another sign that homes are getting larger is increased sales of big furniture. “We are seeing an increase in large furniture and accessory purchases compared to last year,” says David Ladetto of Boston-based online home wares store, Wayfair.com. Ladetto says that whatever the size, across the board people are expanding their living space. “The big homes trend doesn’t indicate a sudden shift from minirooms to McMan-sions. It’s also about getting a little more space — adding that extra bedroom, second bathroom or even a patio.”


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