According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the size of the average American house more than doubled between 1950 and 1999. From 1982-2004, the typical new single-family house grew some 40 percent larger from 1,690 square feet to 2,366 square feet. In the face of these increases, however, the size of the average American household has shrunk from 3.3 to 2.6 people. This seeming paradox betrays the trend toward ever-larger houses for what it is: a real estate fashion, and an irrational one at that. And like all fashions, it's doomed to reverse eventually. If a huge house simply could be tossed out like an outmoded necktie, or even junked like an obsolete SUV, this wouldn't be much cause for concern. But buildings are a lot more permanent than neckties or gas-guzzlers. After the current taste for huge houses inevitably fades, our infrastructure will be burdened with untold thousands of residential white elephants for decades to come. What's so awful about these big, bad...
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