According to the latest census, the average home in the United States is nearly 2,400 square feet. However, across the country, a new building trend is beginning to take hold among homeowners who are trying to consider how much space they really need: fully-functional houses that measure 1,000 square feet or less.
While this size might bring to mind mobile homes or pre-fabricated construction, the Delmarva Now, a segment of USA Today, reports that these houses range from craftsman bungalows style homes to traditional summer cottages. Whatever form these houses take, however, real estate agents and architects are beginning to suspect that the trend of huge houses is in the past.
Take the house of George Thomasson and Michael Sprouse, for example: following a series of 3,000-square-foot houses, the couple built a new, 900-square-foot home in Lewes, DE. Starting from a vacant lot, they built a two-bedroom, two-bath house with a separate building for Sprouse’s art studio. While small, the couple says that their home’s nine-foot ceilings create the illusion of space. They moved in slightly more than a year and a half ago and say that their utility costs and energy footprint have decreased significantly. And thanks to their patio area, Sprouse and Thomasson say they are able to entertain guests normally, especially in warmer weather.
According to Country Living magazine, this interest is part of a growing trend across the U.S. As innovative, practical designs for smaller homes become increasingly available, the magazine reports, homeowners are turning to this option to simplify and fulfill their lives, choosing to connect with family, friends and the outdoors instead of mortgages, high utility bills and social pressures.
“Certain clientele may desire to downsize but our current home buyers are enjoying at least 2,500 square foot to live comfortably,” said Scott McGregor, Owner of McGregor Homes.
But this trend isn’t just for residences. Some summer homes have long prioritized nature and simplicity over size. A 1,000-square-foot beach house in Bethan Beach, DE, owned by the Giddings family of Beltsville, MD is the perfect example of this: first purchased in 1982, the Giddings say the property has allowed them to focus on outdoors and their prime seaside location, rather than the property itself. Now, plenty of vacationers throughout Delaware are following suit: from Fenwick Island to Broadkill Beach, there are several 1,000-square-foot homes available for rent. One home in Lewes is estimated to be under 700 square feet, and yet is still a popular seasonal rental. Small and charming, the house’s convenient location to downtown Lewes probably doesn’t hurt.
Real estate agents, homeowners and architects are divided when it comes to determining the true cause of the small house trend: some say it is because of the appealing designs, while others say that the lower prices associated with the properties is enough of a draw. But while larger homes still dominate most regions, one thing is clear: the smaller house trend is catching on. If you feel that a simpler lifestyle could lead to a better quality of life, this could be the perfect opportunity to make a change.