Over 5 million US homes have been foreclosed in the over three years since the bank bailout. Bank lending policies focused on a market for larger and larger homes, encouraging consumers to spend more and more on housing.
In the year 2000, the Chicago Tribune ran a piece on how home ownership had changed over the past 100 years. In 1900, an average home was about 700-1200 square feet, while in the 1950s, ranch style homes such as those popularized in Levittown averaged 1000 square feet. By 2000, homes were about the same square footage as the year, 2000, with additional bedrooms and bathrooms, effectively doubling the living space. In a statement filled with irony eleven years later, the article continues,
But bigger homes haven't meant fewer homeowners. While only 46.5 percent of the U.S. population owned its own house in 1900 and 53 percent in 1950, it is estimated that at the end of this year more than 67 percent of American households will own. Why? Because we can afford it.
According to the National Association of Home Builders,
... approximately 246,000 U.S. households [are] priced out of the market for a median-priced new home when the price of the home is increased by [only] $1,000. (brackets and bold are author's).Since the crisis, major builders such as KB Home in Los Angeles, are shrinking the sizes of their homes in an effort to compete with the foreclosed homes on the market. Their average new home size is now half the 3200 square feet during the housing boom to 1600 square feet today.
Small Home Jay Shafer from Tumbleweed Small Homes is going to highlight his concerns about large homes in a event at Occupy Wall Street on December 13th, 2011, where he will take one of his small homes to the venue. He believes OWS is the world's largest stage to bring awareness to the alternative and encourage smaller homes.