There are lots of online mortgage calculators designed to let you know how much house you can afford. But how much house do you need? Have houses gotten larger or smaller over the last 30 years? What home size will be desirable in the future?
One way to figure out how much house you need is by figuring out the number of people that will live in it. One interesting note is that over the past 34 years the average persons per household has dropped. At least in the United States.
According to the Census Bureau the average household size has dropped from 3.01 persons per household in 1973, to a new low of 2.54 persons per household in 2013. There are many reasons for this decline. Mostly they are due to three factors: family size has continued to drop, there are more options and people feel free to travel and move about, and overall people have had the resources (finances) to allow them to spread out.
Ironically, while the number of people per household has dramatically dropped, the average house size has gotten much larger. This has caused the average amount of living space, per person in a new home, to double in the last 40 years.
Back in 1973 the average house size was about 1525 square feet. When calculated out, that gave you 506 square feet of living space per person. Thanks to the increase in house size and the drop in people per house, today you get much more living space. Today you can expect to get almost 1000 square feet all to yourself.
Average House Size in 2013 = 2491 sq. ft.
That might be a simplification, but on average those are the numbers showing today. So how does all that very interesting information help you choose the right sized house plan? It all depends on what you think is the right amount of living space per-person.
It is not surprising that the larger the house the more expensive it will be. Not just for the house plan, but to build it. On the flip side to that, nothing is worse than building a house that ends up being too small and uncomfortable to live in.
Simple Size Calculation:
Number of people in the home x 750 = house size needed
Following this simple formula should give you a good starting point. If there are two people in your family, with the possibility of adding a third sometime in the future, your calculation would look like this:
2.5 x 750 = 1875 sq. ft.
A house plan with 1875 square feet of living space would be a good place to start looking. If that sized house falls within your budget, you are golden. If that sized house gives you a LOT of wiggle room in your budget, maybe look at a little larger house.
House size and persons per household have gone up and down throughout history. In recent years, the Small Home movement has shown there are a lot of people interested in smaller, more efficient homes. This could mean more modest homes will be more popular in the future.
However, no one can predict the future. That is why picking a house plan that fits your family and your lifestyle is the most important factor. Trends come and go and economic and social factors are ever changing. Make sure you get what you need and what you like; and you’ll be fine.