Survey Reveals That People Want Bigger Homes—Except in this One Country

published Feb 1, 2017
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(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

For many people, bigger is still better—especially when it comes to their homes. Sure, that motorized monstrosity known as the Hummer is no longer in production, and McMansions have fallen out of favor in recent years as tiny homes tickle our imaginations. But according to a new survey, in much of America, size still matters—and big isn’t big enough.

Point2 Homes, an online real estate marketplace, surveyed 29,000 homeowners in nine countries and found the average home size in the United States to be 1,901 square feet. That’s second largest in the world behind Australia, but 38% of the Americans surveyed said they still want a bigger house.

Maybe they’ve caught a glimpse at what homebuilders are up to down the street. The average size of a newly constructed single family home in the U.S. rose to a bigger-than-ever 2,687 square feet in 2015. That’s 54% bigger than the average new home built 37 years ago, which is the average age of an owner-occupied home in the U.S. (and more closely resembles the actual size of most people’s living quarters).

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Not surprisingly, the countries with the largest homes have high incomes and lots of room to build. Australians reported the largest average home size at 2,032 square feet, and were even hungrier for space than us Americans: More than half, 55%, dream of an even bigger house.

Canadians, who live in the third-largest homes at an average of 1,792 square feet, were the only respondents who weren’t collectively longing for a bigger house, but perhaps an even smaller one. In what can only be described as a refreshingly Canadian perspective, more of our northern neighbors chose 1,000-1,500 square feet as their ideal home size than any other size range.

British respondents report living in slightly tighter quarters, in an average home of 1,590 square feet. But they aren’t afraid to dream big: A full 38% of Brits surveyed want a home twice as large as their current one.

(Image credit: Point2 Homes)

Elsewhere in Europe — in Germany, France, and Spain — the most desired home size was between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet. And while 62% of Brazilians surveyed would like a bigger home, it’s all relative: About half said they live in homes of less than 1,000 square feet, and most would like a slightly bigger home of between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet.

Meanwhile, with the average household size slowly shrinking in the U.S. as more young adults delay marriage and kids, Americans now have more space per person—656 square feet—than anyone else. (Of course, some of us make do with much less personal living space.) That’s a lot more elbow room than British respondents reported (454 square feet) and almost twice the personal space of those in Brazil (348 square feet).

(Image credit: Point2 Homes)

And yet, all that room is apparently still not enough. A similar 2015 survey by Trulia found that 43% of Americans wanted a bigger home than the one they currently lived in. And even among those already boasting enormous digs — homes that were 3,200 square feet or bigger — 25% said they still wanted an even bigger house.

Something about the size of a city block in Brazil, presumably.

You can see Point2 Homes’ full findings on their blog.