For as long as anyone can remember, ‘large’ has pretty much been synonymous with ‘Luxury’ when if came to new home design and construction. As our population became more prosperous, so too the average size of detached home in North American continued to grow. In fact, over the past 60 years, while family sizes and building lot sizes shrunk, the size of the average home has more than doubled! At the same time, condominium high-rise units in dense urban areas have been shrinking, leading to the creation of a new class of condo unit, referred to as microapartments. Ironically these polar opposite trends are being motivated by the same underlying pressure – that is, to maximize the revenue from home sales in order to help cover the cost of ever increasing land values. In the case of McMansions being squeezed onto small urban infill lots, the developer is often restricted, by zoning and community pressure, from adding more unites on the property, and so they will try to maximize the square footage of home on the property so that they can spread the land costs over more floor space, bringing down the cost per square foot in order to create a more reasonable value proposition for the buyer. In the case of microapartments, on the other hand, the developer is not typically saddled with the same kind of unit restriction, and so they will try to achieve a more attractive price point by reducing the unit sizes and just adding more units to improve sales revenues and margins.
For someone wanting to live in a newly constructed home in an urban community, increasingly they are faced with these two radically different options – either a small condo unit, or a huge (and expensive) McMansion infill. Inspired by European design and the tiny house movement, a third option is becoming available. Unfortunately, due to the limited availability of appropriately zoned land, this option will always be somewhat scarce. It involves smaller homes often clustered into 3 or 4 units to an infill development. These homes are small by today’s McMansion standards, but they compare very well with large condominium units, and offer ground floor living as well as more independence and versatility.
Not only are these homes more affordable to purchase than the McMansion options, but they are more unique and offer many benefits to those seeking a more sustainable and urban lifestyle. These include less maintenance overhead, a smaller environmental footprint and lower heating and cooling costs. The reduced time and cost to furnish the smaller home provides a real opportunity to include luxuries that may not be practical in a larger home. Furnishing the new home is less expensive, and will take less time. You can afford better quality designer furnishings. Perhaps real solid wood or reclaimed wood furniture, which is highly sought after today. Whatever your taste, the reduced cost and time required makes it far likelier that you will find the time and money to appoint the space with the luxuries that you can take real pride in, and enjoy for years to come.
People living in urban communities do so to enjoy an active urban lifestyle and all it has to offer. More than previous generations these urbanites demand the time and freedom to enjoy their lifestyle, and prioritize their expenditures accordingly. They do not wish to be house bound or house poor, but they do wish to be able to retreat to a luxurious home (their castle) at the end of the day. Smaller freehold homes offer the perfect balance. For today’s active urban families, smaller new home construction will represent the new standard in luxury accommodations.