Chances are, you live in a much bigger place than your grandparents did decades ago. Average American home sizes have substantially increased since the early 1900s and have grown especially quickly in the past 50 years. However, data gathered by the real estate site PropertyShark.com shows that not all of the U.S. has grown equally.
The average new homes built across the country in the last six years were 74 percent larger than houses built in 1910, showing a 1000-square-foot increase. And because the number of people in each household is dropping (Shout out to all those single ladies!) that means the average American has more living space than previous generations. The average person in the U.S. has about 957 square feet of living space more than their grandparents—an increase of 211 percent.
Each city has experienced a different pattern of growth in living space, though. Miami began the 20th century with new homes slightly above the U.S. average size, but in the ‘60s, houses started getting smaller. Residential real estate in the city has actually grown in size over the last five years, but it still pales in comparison to the spacious houses of the Miami of 1910. San Antonio, by contrast, has been building bigger and bigger homes for more than a century.
Chicago has managed to largely evade the McMansion trend, although no doubt its suburban homes are a different story. The city’s new homes are only 4 percent larger than its 1910 homes were. Nashville, meanwhile, saw median square footage rise 7 percent from the 1910 level, but that’s not necessarily a great indicator of the city’s housing stock. The Music City has always had larger houses than the national average, and in the ‘90s, its median home size was almost 3000 square feet, compared to 2700 now.
These square footages are averages, so that doesn’t mean that every house built is a giant mansion. It’s also possible that in some of these areas, most new houses built are a reasonable size, but a handful of large developments skews the numbers. Head over to PropertyShark.com to see the interactive data.
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