The palatial estate at Surlywood, as I’ve been known to call it, is not so huge: 1060 square feet, plus attached garage, on a little over a quarter-acre. It’s enough for me. It may not be enough for you, not that there’s anything wrong with that:
Bigger houses have significantly more utility. They can accommodate more people. They can accommodate activities that people enjoy (or profit from if you’ve got an extra room you can turn into a workshop, or an office, and work from home…) They have increased flexibility if you’ve got an extra room, you can put up a buddy who’s down on their luck or rent it out or have another kid.
But bigger houses don’t cost proportionately more to construct. An extra room adds more value to the home than it costs to build into the home, assuming we’re talking during initial construction. There’s a point of diminishing returns, but it’s way, way above efficiency apartment level.
So of course people are purchasing larger homes and the average home size is increasing. This is a good thing, reflecting actual preferences of the people buying those homes; nobody’s going shopping for a five-bedroom McMansion when they’d actually be happier in a teeny shack.
In some parts of the country, apparently nobody’s going shopping, period. I’m pretty sure, though, hardly anybody is building anything in the 1000-square-foot range anymore except for condos. (Of the twelve units currently available at Block 42, for instance, the smallest runs 1302. Thirty units, some smaller than that, have already been sold.)
Still, my little house, since it takes up that entire lot, lacks sustainability, or some such bushwah:
But if you’re an “urban planner” with visions of super-high population density, then the availability of large homes is a direct threat to your plans because given the choice, most people really do prefer the extra space.
And there’s a lot to be said for not having to share a common wall with, say, a stoner with a meth lab who likes to listen to death metal at 4am.