Average home size increases, ending multiyear trend

Despite the economic turmoil of recent years and the difficulties experienced in the housing market specifically, big homes are making a comeback.

About 8 percent of respondents in a survey of architecture firms said that the square footage of new homes increased in the first quarter, a 3 percent year-over-year increase. While still small in absolute terms, this represents the largest percentage growth since the survey began in 2005, according to the American Institute of Architects? first-quarter Home Design Trends Survey.

The trend in recent years favored smaller homes, but the AIA’s chief economist said this is a sign the industry is beginning to turn the corner. Other data supports that conclusion, the Wall Street Journal reports. The U.S. Census Bureau found that the average size of new homes in 2011 was greater than the year before. Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko recently indicated that Americans’ ideal home size has gone up since last year.

Rental managers and investors may find that the preference for smaller properties which marked demand in recent years is beginning to cool, meaning that current and prospective renters could start favoring larger homes. At the same time, the news source notes, some buyers are more savvy about the relationship between what they are paying and what they are getting than in the past.