The Rise and Fall of the McMansions

McMansions. Mike PughAre McMansions on their way out? Or will the desire for generous living spaces and bigger-than-life homes overcome the eco-conscious sensibilities of the millennial generation?

The answers to these questions aren’t clearly defined at the moment. As Generation Y and millennial buyers begin expanding their families and enter the housing market their desires and expectations are different from earlier generations. These new homebuyers are more interested in location and eco-friendly, efficient use of space than sprawling square footage.

In places such as Arlington, Virginia you’re more likely to find that the desire for walking proximity to shopping and entertainment, as well as steep gas prices and an eco-conscious mindset, is overshadowing the desire for large homes and luxurious space. A recent article in National Realtor Magazine says that Gen Y home buyers are more likely to sacrifice the grand master suite, or luxury appliance-packed kitchens, for convenience and walkability.

Sweeping, grassy yards are a thing of the past, as the new generation of buyers value low-maintenance homes with smaller properties landscaped so that they don’t require extensive gardening or upkeep. They are more interested in staying connected with friends with close access to communal spaces and high entertaining potential in their own homes. Value is placed on new homes having ‘gathering places’ rather than spacious bedrooms, or whirlpool bathtub bathrooms.

What does this mean for the McMansion? As this new generation of buyers enters the market, we may start seeing McMansions fade away as builders adapt to the new demand. Builders may opt for more open spaces for game areas, movie nights, and quaint outside grill areas than fancy multi-story houses with master bathrooms and bedrooms that you could fit your whole family into, and huge yards with swimming pools.

McMansions aren’t completely a thing of the past as they are still in demand for those who value generous living space and luxury to fit the lifestyle of their choice. And as Gen Y and the millenials mature, we may see a blending of the old and the new and a whole new breed of homes and lifestyles emerge. The one thing that stays the same throughout – that we can always depend on though – is this: location, location, location.