Do planners need to protect rural areas from mansionization?

Research suggests that the stereotype of supersized suburban homes is misleading and criticisms of larger homes are misguided. American Housing Survey data indicate that while there are some regional differences on a per-person basis, the size of owner-occupied homes is in part determined by the number of people a home contains. And larger homes contain more people. Typically, larger homes are found in the types of places where larger households (i.e. families with children) tend to live, such as suburbs of metropolitan areas.

Does that mean that there are no larger homes in any of these areas? No, we’ve all seen them. But it does mean that not only do homes grow in size when one moves away from the central city to suburbs but households grow in size as well. The average number of people per home increases from 2.6 in central cities to 2.7 in urban and rural MSA areas.

Furthermore, metropolitan families choosing larger houses outside of central cities are more likely to have school-age children. Only one-third of households living in central cities have children under 18, which is below the US average of 34 percent.

You can read more on the HousingEconomics.com website. We thank Teresa Osinski, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County, for passing this along.

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