March 25, 2012

Average House Size By Country



North Americans get to enjoy being at, or near, the top of all the wrong lists. Whether it's energy consumption per capita, amount of waste produced, or average house size, you will find us up there. It is nice of Australians, then, to oust us North Americans out of the top spot in average house size. 

After decades of increases, in 2008 the average house size in the US began to drop. Have people had enough of the monster homes, McMansions, starter castles, or hummer houses, as they are affectionately known?

In the US, many municipalities are moving to restrict the mushrooming size of new homes, trying to prevent the blight and insanity of 15,000 to 55,000 square foot monstrosities.
 

Builders may also be cluing in. In 2009, 9 out of 10 builders surveyed reported that they were building, or planning to build, smaller, lower cost homes than they had been.

These trends were not seen in Australia where the average new home is a record-breaking 243 sq m (2622 sq ft).

Average House Size By Country
  1. Australia - 214.6 sq m (2310 sq ft), 2.56 people per household (pph)
  2. USA - 201.5 (2170), 2.6 pph
  3. New Zealand - 196.2 (2112), 2.6 pph
  4. Canada - 181 (1950), 2.5 pph
  5. Japan - 132 (1420), this year the pph in Tokyo dropped below 2 for the first time (1.99)
  6. UK - 76 (818), 2.1 pph
The largest households are found in Iraq with 7.7 people. India has 5.4 people per household, and the world average was 3.8 in 2002.

Larger households are more efficient because many people are sharing space and resources, maximizing on both. This is why students, and other people looking to maximize resources, often choose to share living space. It saves money, and resources.

But the trend has been toward larger houses and smaller households. Why do we need all this room? What is it for, and how do some people manage to live with less?

The UK is notable for having the smallest houses on our list, and in all of Europe. Six UK homes could be built on one Australian lot.

Linda and I currently live in 586 sq ft., how about you? Does your living space contribute to decreasing your country's overall average house size?


My dream home is tiny

108 comments:

  1. My boyfriend and I live in a 740square foot ranch house with three cats, so no McMansions here. I originally bought this house as a starter home because it was what I could comfortably afford. But since then I've found that it's perfectly sufficient and while I may sometimes still want to upsize, I certainly don't *need* to.

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    1. "It's perfectly sufficient" - that is a major realization to come to, and one that protects you from constantly wanting something bigger.

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  2. Why do feel that poverty is a virtue? I love having lots of space. One of the strengths of this country is that you don't get forced into living in a shoe box.

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    1. Are you equating small homes with poverty? Many down-sizers are choosing very small, modern condos in urban towers (as small as 400 sq ft). It makes sense with the cost of energy as high as it is.

      Larger household size (pph) is sometimes associated with poverty, that is true. And sometimes it is associated with frugality, close-knit family groups, and cooperation.

      Frugality, thrift, and self-control are virtues that I try to develop. I think it is virtuous to think of those yet to come, and plan for their needs, too.

      "I love having lots of space." What is the space for?

      If we equate small homes with poverty, perhaps our large homes are just a way to show others we aren't poor (although it is possible to own a large house and be poor).

      Thank you for offering an alternative perspective. I am truly curious as to what the attraction to huge homes is.

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    2. Poverty = Thin walls. Noisy neighbors. No walking distance to nature or parks.
      Regardless of the size of the house.
      Are the people around me obnoxious, stressed and noisy, or quite and content?

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    3. "Poverty = Thin walls. Noisy neighbors. No walking distance to nature or parks."

      I thought this sounded funny, because I live in central Texas and from town to town you almost always see some of the poorest, most rundown houses right across the street from the city parks. Maybe it's just a Texas thing. And about the thin walls.. cinderblock walls are pretty darn thick and I've never seen what I would call a "nice" cinderblock home. But noisy neighbors, yes, indeed.

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    4. I have to say, as much as I agree with some of the outcomes of small homes - particularly environmental outcomes, but also the social benefits of a well functioning city - I would much prefer a larger home.

      I want to have space for people to visit and stay, space to host bigger parties and events, separate rooms for different purposes and a large central open plan area with different spaces within it for different purposes. It's nice to have different furniture for studying, for reading, for watching tv, for playing games and for relaxed socialising, rather than using one couch and one table for everything. I also like the way empty space feels - clean simple lines, with no clutter and mess. It's possible to have that feeling in a small home, but it's much easier in a large home.

      So yes, I can see why frugality, thrift and self-control are virtues, but I recognise that they certainly aren't me. I will never be happy in a small home.

      But there are other ways to be environmentally friendly. We can use renewable energy to heat and cool oversize homes, purchase low emission cars and recycle the large amounts of waste we produce.

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  3. Hmm.. Should this be average new HOME size (including apartments) because I don't think the average new HOUSE is only 76 square meters in UK? That is pretty small for a house :)

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    1. You are correct, and the stats shown are for new HOME size, including multi-unit. Still, it is a small number compared to other parts of Europe and the world.

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  4. My hubby and I (along with our kitty) live in a 1300 SF house. I wasn't well-aware of the tiny-house movement (I've seen some really neat ones lately) when we bought this place. While I love my house, I definitely wouldn't mind going smaller! We drove by a housing construction site the other day and I was lamenting the fact of even more McMansions being built. There are so many smaller nice houses not in use that are in foreclosure or for sale. Why keep building more???

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    1. You bring up some excellent points regarding the housing industry. Not much of it makes sense to me - seems like a lot of waste and misery so a few can profit.

      Some would say that with the two of you, and a cat, in a 1300 sq ft house, you are part of the tiny-house movement!

      It is great that you are open to going smaller. That is not an option that many are willing to consider, but to me it makes a lot of sense.

      Smaller homes costs less to purchase and maintain. They use less energy, and are more sustainable.

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  5. I love this post! I have been reading your blog for a few months now & slowly converting my new husband to this life style. When we got married in August of last year, I (with my 10 yr old son) was in the process of selling my 2700 sq ft home. My husband had just sold his 2000 sq ft house. When we moved we downsized to a 980 sq ft home! We 3 humans and 2 dogs and 1 anceint cat fit comfortably! We have been able to cut our pre-wedding debt by two thirds! Out current home is paid in full & we are now saving to build our next little house on some land just outside of town where we can live off grid! My life long dream is slowly becoming a reality....and I finally have a partner who supports it! Thanks for your insight, you have helped convert my guys into free thinkers!

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    1. Congratulations. Wow - talk about downsizing!

      Going from 4700 combined square feet to 980 sq ft is impressive. The reduction in your ecological footprint is significant. These are exactly the kind of rational changes that NBA is all about.

      Reducing debt is increasing freedom, and I commend you for cutting your debt so drastically.

      It makes all the difference to have a supportive partner. Thankfully, Linda and I have been on the same page regarding lifestyle since we met. It makes the adventure so much more enjoyable... and possible.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Comments like yours embolden others to follow their own path to a more simple life.

      We are happy to have you with us, and a big shout out to your free-thinking dudes.

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  6. I'm starting to understand why my mom has hoarded half of her 3500 sq. foot house. That way she only has to clean 1750 square feet!

    Seriously, why does anyone want a huge house? It's so much to clean (or to have to pay someone to clean). I'm super surprised that the US isn't at the top of the list. Having a place so big that you need a cleaning lady in DC is a badge of pride.

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    1. If a big house with cleaning lady (and don't forget the nanny) is a badge of pride, then it is about ego and status.

      Your mom is on to something - thanks for the laugh.

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  7. I like large houses. I'm buying a house over 2000 sf now. I'm going to keep on buying large houses. I don't really care what your opinion is, or even that you have an opinion.

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    1. I hope your large houses bring you large happiness.

      Thank you for providing your alternative view.

      Your statement is an interesting addition to this important discussion.

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    2. You do realize 2000 feet isn't a large house right? Maybe it's big in your state... All I know is that's small where I live

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    3. you do realize that YOU referred to it as a large house right???

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    4. You seem to care enough to participate in the discussion….

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    5. Seems the house as well as the posts are a try for attention.

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  8. I found this looking for stats on house sizes by country (which I could not find easily). My wife and I live in a 2300SF house which was OK (not ideal, but OK) until we had our baby. Now it is a stretch and considering a second child we both feel our house is too small. Although we can't afford to bump up a size, we both feel around 3000SF is reasonable. Her brother lives in 800SF with his wife and son; honestly that is simply too small for my taste. We both love big expansive rooms; it's not just about having enough rooms so much as having large rooms.

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    1. All that space must be maintained, heated and cooled, and cleaned. With rising energy costs, and taxes, large homes will be very expensive to keep.

      My wife's aunt raised 5 kids in a house of about 1000 sq ft, and millions of people around the world make do with much less.

      What if after a while in your larger home it starts to feel too small? I guess that is my question - how big is big enough?

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    2. I agree with you! I live in a 4500SF house with 3 people in it and we have a cleaning person. I also love big pretty houses!!

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    3. Is your "taste" the most important variable? I'd love my own planet to set up my own world on. Earth seems pretty good…. If you don't like Ligeti, please leave. My world is for cultured people with taste. Houses should be small. Art studios big, and shared. Hide-outs should be under 200'. Is your home a hideout? Or are you making very large sculptures? Maybe you have a private skating rink?

      Tell your cleaning person I said hi! Maybe give them a raise? After all they take care of you like you are a toddler!~

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  9. I don't know about apartments, but as far as numbers go, I didn't see anything even approaching to tiny in this post.

    An average apartment here is about 60 square metres. That's about 196 square feet (at least that's what the conversion table says). It's considered a decent size for a family of 3 or 4.

    Am I missing something? I don't think that I'm grossly misinterpreting the conversion tables; numbers are numbers after all.

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    1. No, there is nothing tiny about the average house size in the countries listed. However, there is a growing movement toward smaller homes in recent years.

      Some newer condos and rental accommodations are offering tiny spaces of 200 - 500 sq ft, but they are a small market so far.

      What country are you writing from? 60 sq meters for a family of four is definitely tiny.

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    2. Perhaps a bit on the small side if the children can't share a room, but I assure you that it's perfectly comfortable.
      It's all about how you make use of the space.

      I'm writing from Slovenija. We're officially Mediterranean (why that is funny is another story) and we're meeting Central Europe.

      In fact, my mother died a couple of years ago, and my father is now moving to the capital, because he says that 60 square metres is entirely too much space for one person.

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    3. I find that fascinating - so different from North America. We are conditioned to acquire the largest home we can afford, whether buying or renting.

      When most people move it is because they want "more space".

      Do you spend more time outdoors and away from the home (cafes and other meeting places)?

      Thank you for sharing your situation in your country. Image the resources that could be saved if we all lived in such small spaces. I do believe that it can be perfectly comfortable.

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    4. Little late - but you are missing something. 60 square metres is about 646 sq feet, not 196. Still a bit cramped for a family of four, but much more doable! We have three adults and two cats in about the same space (US apartment) which isn't so much a "better" situation than having kids as much as it just brings about a different set of problems (one works from home, etc). We could add another person, but it would be cramped, so kudos to you!

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    5. 646 sq ft is correct, and is small by current N. American standards. You are making good use of your space.

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  10. How big is big enough? I guess maybe 4000 - 5000 SF to be honest. If I had unlimited funds in which to by a house it'd likely be somewhere in there I would think. Everybody has their own comfort level. To me it's somewhere in that area. For now, 2300 SF will have to do.

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    1. Since you don't have unlimited funds, wouldn't you rather stay in your current home and work less than move to a larger home and have to work more?

      The way I am thinking is that you could spend more time with your growing family, rather than working to pay off a large mortgage.

      I would be willing to bet that your kids would rather have more time with you than a bigger house.

      These are tough times - I truly hope it works out for you and your family. I appreciate your reply, and your honesty.

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  11. Love this post! Thank you. Our family of 4 + cat and dog live in a 133sq m house, that includes the garage,on a 500sq m section. This is obviously below the norm here in New Zealand. But we love it. It feels spacious, and as we get rid of more and more as the kids grow up it feels even more spacious.
    We have a tiny mortgage, can walk to schools, work and the supermarket. We do run one car. I find it amusing the expectations that some of our friends have on us to "upgrade" to a larger home. They get a bit stumped when I respond with a simple, "why?" whilst quietly picturing all the clutter that I have mentally cringed at when I have visited their homes. Thank you for your inspiring blog. I can't wait to read more.

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    1. I gagged the first time I heard the real estate phrase "starter home". It implies that as soon as you have bought your first home, you should be lusting after your next 'bigger and better' house. They have to keep us always wanting more.

      Congratulations on resisting the pressure to 'upgrade'. Contentment is a wonderfully liberating thing. Thanks for visiting, and participating.

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    2. AnonymousJuly 02, 2013

      "Starter home" could, in recent trends, refer to the floor plan we want to start with until we find out what works best for the family as it grows. This may not mean a larger size, but a better layout for how the family operates daily.

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  12. The Average house size for Americans has always boggled my mind. I grew up in a 950 square foot home for 6 people on 7 acres.......we never thought there was not enough room.

    Now we choose to live simply in a 850 square foot trailer for 5 people, 1 dog and 1 cat....about 150 sq feet per person! Yet I have read even with modern poverty those considered in the poverty line average 700 sq foot per person.

    We are perfectly comfortable in our home.

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  13. Most of us baby boomers were raised in homes which were 1000 to 1500 sq ft. They housed the parents, 2 or 3 kids sometimes more, sometimes a grandparent. we all survived. I suspect some people want a large home today because they had to share a bedroom with their siblings. Some never got over that.

    I do have difficulty understanding why people want master bedrooms suites which are several hundred sq ft., to get away from the kids. Just don't have them. It would be better for the kids & you.

    Small homes can work for some people if they are property designed. IF you know you like collections of specific things, have built in units to house them. It keeps them clean & out of the way, yet available to admire. Probably the biggest waste of space in the past 30 yrs. has been the garage which is built onto the house. /All we do is store junk in them. Most people can't even get their cars into them.

    Europeans were able to live in smaller homes because that is all that was available. They didn't "acquire" the way North American's do. They tend to keep their household belongings for longer periods of time. People might find their lives are simplified by simply not going to the mall continually. Just stay home, read a book, go to a park, etc.

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    1. AnonymousJuly 03, 2012

      "Small homes can work for some people if they are property designed."

      This is an excellent point. I share 720sq ft ranch house with my partner and our 100lb dog. Its certainly large enough, but it could be amazing if there was a little more foresight into its design. For instance, places to put things. hehe. There is a single 2x3 ft closet that is pantry, toiletries, and coat closet.

      We do what we can, but I feel the potential is limited without some major renovation.

      The one limitation is our incredibly small bathroom. It is too small to accommodate two people at one time, which is a point of contention for us especially when we have 2 or 4 guests.

      But none of these complaints can match the wonder of our large beautiful yard and the fact we could pay the mortgage on minimum wage =)

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    2. I would rather have a small house and big, beautiful yard than the other way around.

      I've been in new neighbourhoods where the front yards were so small homeowners were not allowed to plant trees.

      The backyards were big enough for a deck and a small strip of grass.

      Houses averaged 3000 sq ft, and currently sell for about $450,000.

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  14. We live in the UK where homes are small (but expensive). Two adults, on child in a 580sq.ft rented aparment. More than enough living space but not really enough room for my hobby. I have my lathe in a corner of our living room. Space for a 8'x6' shed would have been nice but of course that is not possible as the flat owners in the block prefer a nice lawn (that you are not supposed to play on). We used to live in a big house in Denmark but the cost of heating it was enormous. In short, I don't mind the small UK homes but wish there was a bit of workshop space.

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  15. Joe, DublinJuly 14, 2012

    I'm surprised at the Irish part of this. I've always noticed how much smaller houses in the UK are, but certainly in rural Ireland a lot of houses are huge. Maybe the amount of older cottages and new apartment blocks skew the figure down, but still, not what I have noted from personal experience. Standard family houses in housing developments are usually 1400 to 1850 square feet, one-off new houses are often 2500 square feet or bigger, whereas in the UK a standard development house is 900 to 1300 square feet.

    The main differences between 'standard' houses in Ireland and the UK is around how we cook and eat. Irish houses almost always have a 'back kitchen', where laundry and sometimes a second oven or fridge will be. Kitchens tend to be bigger and encompass either a big dining area or seating area. It's very much the heart of an Irish home, whereas British houses have much more emphasis on living rooms, and the kitchens are pretty utilitarian. Because of plot sizes (fewer people means more land), conservatories are ubiquitous in Ireland whereas in the UK they're more of a luxury. Irish houses in towns (most rural houses are bungalows or dormer bungalows anyway) almost always have a downstairs bathroom, something a lot of British houses lack.

    I share a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Dublin. We have a laundry room, a large open plan living/dining room and a relatively small kitchen. My building is donut-shaped, so each apartment is like a wedge of the donut. It's about 950 square feet, with no outdoor space unfortunately though there are communal gardens which are quite nice. Zero heating required too!

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  16. hi you have made me feel so greedy. i'm building a 3300sq ft house for my mother who lives alone, but will enjoy as a family at holiday season. everyone says its huge but we grew up in 10000 sq ft so its relative i guess.

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    1. Going from 10000 sq ft to 3300 sq ft is an impressive downsizing.

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    2. Size is not relative. Measurements are absolute. Too big is too big. Waste is waste. Greed is greed. Congratulations on your mothers downsizing. She is almost a quarter of the way to reasonable!

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    3. Size is not relative, but downsizing is. I'm glad the mom is in a smaller than 10000 sq ft. house. Yes, smaller would be better (on the environment, etc.) but I think the emphasis here should be on which direction our society is moving (bigger or smaller). We all (most all) still drive cars after all. How about we downsize those babies and attach pedals to them?!

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  17. I think some of the "large size" (meaning ~ 2000 sq ft) is that we don't necessarily do things in a timely fashion (like laundry). This time table drives the need for more clothes which drives a need for more space. Hobbies or seasonal decorations also require space to put their materials.

    We're getting ready to build (~ 1800 sq ft for 5 people). I'd love to go smaller actually but hubby disagrees and since we are planning to age in place - that becomes a factor. Planning for "wheelchair access" makes for larger hallways, doors and walkways than were in the older homes in our area.

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    1. Most people report wanting 'more space'. I am sure you are right and it involves the fact that we have more stuff, including clothes, toys, hobbies, etc. Storage space is also required for bulk-buying from big box stores.

      Then there's a scrap booking room, media room, bonus room, and my favourite - a man cave (this must appeal to some men's inner Neanderthal). All that space and not a library, pantry/canning area, or children's discovery room to be seen.

      I love how you and your husband are planning to age in place, and are including wheelchair access in your plans. Very few people think that sensibly, or that far ahead.

      You will be able to settle in, and feel safe and secure knowing you are prepared.

      Enjoy your new home, and thank you for adding your perspective to the discussion.

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  18. My husband and I have three kids. We will be moving in a year and have agreed that we our next home will be dramatically smaller. We currently live in a 1,900 square foot home and would like to move into something that is about 1,000 square feet. Our biggest obstacle in choosing a smaller home is that the vast majority of smaller homes are in neighborhoods with less than desirable schools. We aren't open to homeschooling right now, so this is a problem. It would be wonderful to see families moving back in to older communities with smaller homes and revitalizing neighborhood schools. Just my 2 cents!

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    1. Revitalized, small home neighbourhoods would be great. Unfortunately, often the old, small house is torn down and replaced with a larger sized home.

      Good luck in your small house hunt, and thanks for adding your 2¢.

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    2. One unfortunate reason to tear down old homes and rebuild is the cost of heating them, particularly in the northern states.

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  19. I've been reading your blog most of the day. Quite nice. :)

    We are a family of 3 living in a relatively poorly designed 550 sq ft. But, the view is spectacular, as is the overall lifestyle!

    Being a minimalist helps! We have capsule wardrobes, are toy minimalists, and have minimal furnishings (ie, we don't have a dining table and chairs -- we picnic on the floor with cool vintage linens; we don't have chairs -- just our beds and a dresser and a bench which we use for everything from step-stool to desk).

    Another thing that works well for us is what I call "outsourcing."

    Instead of a big yard, we got involved with community gardening. Instead of needing a craft room, we go to the local public art space (run on donations; very cool place -- they have supplies, space to work, volunteer helpers to teach you different skills). Instead of having a home-gym, we go to the community center. Instead of a workshop, we go to a community workshop and tool library.

    This gets us connected to the community. We meet a lot of people, which is our greatest asset, our wealth!

    DS is an only child, but he knows so many children from different backgrounds as well as has multi-generational friends, too. We are far from family -- from elders, from cousins -- but this way, DS gets all of the benefits of that kind of communal experience.

    It's truly wonderful.

    I love living in a small space. It's efficient, warm, simple, clean, and easy. And it gives me creativity and joy and freedom.

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    1. "Outsourcing" is the way to go. It is unnecessary, expensive, and wasteful for everyone to have to own everything they use throughout the day. We are all ahead when we share, and as you point out, it brings us together.

      Private interests, aided by governments, are purposefully destroying everything communal in the name of private profit and 'progress'. However, as we learn in kindergarten, sharing forms the very basis of human life.

      Small houses and cooperating with our neighbours move us toward a more sociable and sustainable world.

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  20. 450 sf studio in San Jose CA for 1, in '92 it was all that I could afford to buy, since then I'ld love to go a small house, but prices in bay area are INSANE, so I'm looking for 700 sf outside bay area. Now that I'm medically retired. My old job was one that required you to have stuff that made a nice space cramped. It occured to me that what I really need is more walls for more bookshelves.

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    1. 700 sq ft is still pretty small. Jobs require us to have a lot of stuff that we would otherwise not need.

      Hope your small house search, and your retirement, go well.

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  21. My husband and I live in a 760 sq ft apartment, but the layout is odd/not well planned out so it feels a lot smaller. It's one bedroom and bathroom, has a living room, updated kitchen, and absolutely no storage space. Which is a bit of an inconvenience since I'm an artist and I have a lot of art supplies that are currently taking up all the space in the tiny, "master" closet. Not to mention, with the wonky layout and carpet flooring, it's not really conducive for me to go and get all creative since I could (and have accidentally, despite a dropcloth) ruined the carpet. There's not enough space for me to spread everything out so I have to keep putting things away.

    I would go to a public hobby area, but the nearest area is an hour away and I have no car since my husband drives mine. There are no buses and to take a taxi an hour away would be entirely too expensive for me. I don't have the money for that.

    I would love to "outsource" but the problem with outsourcing is, you don't always know what condition or how well the materials, machinery, or what have you have been taken care of and, if it's something that you would be using on a daily/regular basis, it ends up being cheaper to just buy the item rather than having to pay some monthly fee to use a facility. You're also paying for gas (or taxi or bus!) back and forth to the area as well, add all that up and it will pretty much equate to the price of something in the end.

    But since I live in an apartment complex, there is a pool (that's closed now) and a gym (with a wonky, untrustable weight lifting machine) that have served me quite well, though. I get to converse and interact with the others who live in the complex.

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    1. A well-planned small space can be a beautiful thing, but so few are designed for maximum efficiency.

      We live in a small town so can relate to the lack of services close by.

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  22. I love my 107 year old Queen Anne home. I wonder if the average size of homes was larger in the late 1800s/early 1900s. All the homes built around that time in my area are pretty good sized, with a fair chunk in excess of 3000 square feet with finished attics. Most of the homes I looked at that were built after 1920 or so were under 1600 square feet.

    Mine's about 2100 finished square feet of space, and I'll probably eventually finish the third floor for another 750 or so (with a ridiculously high ceiling, or maybe even add a ~300sf loft room).

    Well-planned spaces as you noted in the comments are great. I marvel when I walk through an Ikea store or look at the Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. My house... is more eclectic than well-planned. The kitchen was built before modern appliances and kitchen cabinets were common. It's about 140 square feet and has 4 different entrances and a large window, so there's very little storage space. The "butler's pantry" was turned into a 3/4 bath in the 1950's.

    But there's room to entertain, and I have room for an office, a laundry/project/craft room, and a guest room. And during football season, I pull a few beds down from the attic, set them up in the office and laundry room, and rent the house out to groups of up to 10 people for home football game weekends, making enough to pay 6 months or so of the mortgage each season.

    But we also have a carriage house that at some point was turned into a garage with an apartment above it. It's 441 square feet. Again, as you said, well-planned space is great. It's actually pretty decently done, especially since I remodeled it and tore out the closet that made the very small bedroom even smaller by cutting a 3x4 foot chunk out of it while not really adding much useful storage (though it did make it legally countable as a bedroom in the state of indiana). I might eventually put something like a shallow ikea PAX wardrobe along the back wall of the bedroom -- it will lose a touch more space than the previous closet, but still be a much more usable space. But it's ideal for a grad student or someone who commutes to the city for work during the week and goes home to the country over the weekend.

    But I also happily lived in a 180 square foot space when I was working in Baltimore (had it conceptually split into 3 areas -- a queen bed with a wall-mounted reading lamp and a few inches of shelf space for sleeping, and a cedar chest plus a couple of stacked nightstands (with the bottom drawers only opening if the cedar chest was movied);on the other side of the nightstands and chest, an office area with a sort of kidney shaped desk and an office chair; and then against the exposed brick wall, some corner shelving, two stacked small dressers on the other, with the top one narrower so there was some end-table usability from the lower one, an Ikea Beddinge sofa/futon, and a water cooler/heater so I didn't have to go downstairs to get a drink. What really made it work was the high ceiling and ample light from 2 windows on the front side and one window on the back that opened onto the rooftop deck. (Of course, that doesn't include the shared bathroom (minimal, probably 4 x 7 feet) or kitchen (good sized but I didn't use it much)).

    And man, did I get off topic, kinda. Ah well. Hopefully someone will at least find it interesting, if not terribly useful. :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with living in both large and small spaces. The information is both interesting and useful.

      What a rental idea! Half a year of mortgage payments is a lot of money.

      Delete
  23. I think anybody should live in a home the size they prefer (as long as they can afford it).

    My home is about 3,500 sq ft of living space. It is just 2 of us, no pets. I think it is "about the right size" for us. We first lived in an apartment about 800 sq ft when I was in school and that was "cramped" and it felt very bare minimum. I see a lot of posts about these small homes, but I don't understand what do you do if guests or family come over, send them to a hotel?

    There is no other place on earth where I spend more time then my home, so I do not feel it is wrong to have a nice and spacious home. I hear a lot of discussion on heating/cooling costs, cleaning, etc. If these costs are no significant burden then what does it matter. I visit Europe on a frequent basis and I can not believe how small some homes are even for "average" people. I see the above figures as 750 sq ft for the average home in UK. Just incredible. Hell, my Home Theater room is 500 sq ft alone! I like having an office, separate bathrooms for guests, library, sun room, dining room, living room, guest bedrooms, etc...

    Once again, you want to live in a tiny home, great I do not see anything wrong with that. Similarly, if one can afford a large home and that provides happiness, then I do not see anything wrong with that either.

    I think it comes down to ability and personal preference. My parent's house is 5,200 sq ft. I think they have more walk-in closet space than the average UK home size which I find rather funny.

    As for houses getting smaller in the US, I do not think this reflects the average person "wanting to live in a smaller home" but rather the economic downturn which has "forced" people into smaller homes. The average person would like a larger dwelling and is mostly limited by income. This is easily shown by data correlating affluence with house size.

    -Invenio

    ReplyDelete
  24. I don't feel that just because I can afford something means that I should have it. I may be able to afford a large house, but can the environment afford my large house?

    "Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU

    I wonder what the Europeans know that we don't?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 19, 2014

      I think that is more from over population than large homes

      Delete
  25. its fun to have room to roam, different areas of a big home to explore, decorate and enjoy. I love being at home. so more space gives a change of scenery when you find a new room to relax in from time to time. imnot talking huge, but even 2,000 sq feet (not including a finished basement) is ideal to me. its just costly when the consumers energy bill comes. bt other than that, I don't know why you would rather be confined to cramped living quarters. just because you prefer this, trust me not everyone does. if everybody had the same views and liked the same thing/saw things the same way- that would be a strange world to live in...and a cramped one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As you point out, we are all different, and like you, most people really love their big houses. I have never felt that attachment myself, which is why I have always preferred small, cozy places.

      I enjoy the 586 sq. ft. I live in now, and never feel cramped or confined. If I want a change of scenery I go for a walk. The rent is cheap, and so are the utilities. It is clean, and protects me from the elements.

      And the money I have saved over the years by living in a smaller, more efficient space allowed me to effectively retire at age 40.

      Delete
  26. Where are your sources for this data?!

    ReplyDelete
  27. "Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate."

    And they have been telling us this for at least 40 years by my recollection. In that time the World population has doubled and my standard of living in the UK is immeasurably better than it was being raised in social housing. Up until about 5 years ago a large house due to appreciation was a better investment as well as usually being placed in the nicer areas to live. It is not the size of your house but the 3 things that have always been important with housing that matter. Location, location location. Be small by all means but be small somewhere that you property will retain its value. The right home is not just a place to live but should ALSO be an investment. Those times will return and now is the time to buy. In London property prices did not drop at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Investments? My eyes are glazing over.

      I believe in the importance of good financial planning, but life is short, and a house is really just shelter.

      Right now in Canada, like many places in the world, owning a house is not necessarily the good investment it was back in the "real estate only goes up" days. Investments are often a variation on casinos or ponzi schemes.

      But if a person does play the real estate game, your comment makes sense.

      Delete
  28. Julius, Melbourne - AustraliaFebruary 21, 2013

    Clear and informative presentation of information.

    I was just wondering what the source of the information was? Because this is significantly difficult information to obtain.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Pete and Julius,

    When I was writing this post a year ago I had no idea it would end up being one of the most read posts of all time on my blog. If I had, I would have been more diligent about creating some links and listing the resources I used.

    I just did simple searches for country and house size while researching this post. Finding the sources I used initially, or discovering new ones, is a project I have in mind. When that happens I will share the results.

    Thanks for reading (and commenting to hold me to task).

    ReplyDelete
  30. Gregg, I agree totally with all you have to say. I feel the same way and have been "preaching" these philosophies for some time. Makes me feel good to see there are like minded people out there. Sometimes I feel as though I am the last one on earth that is not obsessed with image/ money. Nice to know there are others that would rather live life to its fullest than spend all there time trying to accumulate materials.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If not for my blog, and clear-thinking individuals like yourself dropping by, I wouldn't be as hopeful as I am. Things are changing.

      Natural limits are beginning to show themselves, and we are being required to address the colossal waste that occurs in our consumer capitalist system.

      A lot of that waste is in the form of ego gratification and presentation of self - we don't buy cars for transportation, or houses for shelter, based on need. Increasingly this is coming to be seen as the flagrant waste that it is, especially while so many go wanting for the basics.

      Keep on visiting us, and keep on preaching!

      Delete
  31. I know people that live in smaller (1200 sq/ft) houses + basement and i dont know how they do it. Im in a 1800 sq/ft house now and feel cramped. We're shooting for a 3300 sq/ft house as our forever home and keep the first house as a rental.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NIce April Fools Day joke comment Anon. We both know that in the big house game there is no such thing as a "forever home".

      Delete
  32. That reply was a little offensive and arrogant. Just because a person desires to own a house that you consider big does not mean they will always want bigger (or is greedy). Because you like small houses do you always long for a smaller house?

    I think the size of a house is a very minor factor in its energy use (at least in NZ where I live). I am currently building a 240sq M home (plus 80sq M deck) that will use less energy than the last home I owned which was less than half the size. Far more important factors are the design, materials and appliances, climate. I could easily spend another 3.5% of my build cost and make my new house use no outside energy at all by installing a solar PV system (which I may do later).

    Why do I want a house that size? Because I like to have family and friends come and stay with me. Because I like to spread out in my house. Because if I have kids I want them to have a room of their own. Because I believe my equity in the home will increase faster than in a smaller house. Because I can afford it. My question is, why would I want to live in a smaller house?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, and I apologize. Sometimes I get overzealous, and the last thing I want to do is offend readers and stifle dialogue.

      As you point out, there are many variables that are to be considered when deciding on the size of our homes. A large energy efficient home built with natural building materials could have less of an impact than a poorly built, off-gassing, smaller home with little insulation.

      It is too simplistic to say small = good, and big = bad. What we need are homes that sustainable, whatever that looks like in each particular situation.

      Thank you for sharing your experience in NZ with us. It is great to hear about what people are doing in other parts of the world, such as installing solar PV systems.

      Good luck with your home - it sounds wonderful.

      Delete
  33. Mans blight on the earth has nothing to do with house sizes, its because there are WAY too many of us and little that is useful is being done to stop populations growing in a unsustainable manner. I read here India has 7 plus per household. When there are billions more people to house coming along the argument in favour of smaller houses misses the point entirely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We definitely have too many people for us to sustain the ways of living represented by consumer cultures. That way of life, including large houses, is coming to an end for a variety of reasons, including overpopulation.

      In the meantime, since we have a rapidly growing population, we should probably be using our resources as efficiently as possible. It seems to me that more people means smaller homes. And yet, little is being done to stop house sizes from growing in an unsustainable manner.

      Delete
  34. Great for everyone who has a small home. More power to ya. I get tired of subliminal messages that America and it's hard earned wealth is wicked and we should all be emulating third world nations, as if they purposely choose a shack or lean-to for habitation. In a country where we produce more goods worldwide, are the most productive, the most generous, the most intelligent, the most pro-active in technology and research, has the best health-care (until Obama kicks in), you think we'd be free to build a home any size we want without facing ridicule from liberal socialist. The population only fills 3% of the earth, so overpopulation is really not the issue. If Texas had the same population percentage as England based on land size, there would over 100 million people in the Lone Star State. Last I heard England isn't running out of room. If people want a big home, that's their freedom in America. It is the American dream. My home size is actually under the national average for home size, but I'm certainly not going to berate or shame rich folks for doing so with some passive aggressive call to "save the earth". Trees are a renewable resource. We aren't going to run out. But guess what all you tree huggers, plastic is filling up the dump grounds and now Grocery stores are calling for paper bags! How ironic is that? The ones who thought they had the "new world" solution ended up screwing up what was the most efficient way to conserve. The earth is self sustaining and will support twice the population it now serves. In the next 20 years you will see this proven.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Wow, so much rant, so little rational thought. Who, exactly, claims that wealth is wicked? And who wants to emulate the third world? The largest producer and international exporter? That's China - by a long way. Americans are the most generous?? By what measure? Is a poor African who shares his meal with you less generous than a Texan who gives you a gun? Besides, Canada, Switzerland and Ireland beat the U.S. for charitable donation per capita. The most intelligent?? I'm not getting that impression. The best health-care?? Ha-ha What kind of chauvinistic bubble do you live in? England isn't running out of room?? There is a serious problem in England with overpopulation and housing stock spreading into 'green field' sites. Comparing England to Texas is ridiculous. I have no wish to denigrate this state (or any other) but do a random 'streetview' of any Texan road and you'll likely see a flat, dry, empty landscape where it would seem that housing could be built almost anywhere. America's a great country TJ, but your rant makes it seem less so.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Gregg thank you for starting such a useful and engaging thread on your blog. I live in Australia but have recently returned from the UK. I am frankly amazed by a. the size of new houses here and b. the poor quality of construction. And I don't mean the builders are incompetent, quite the opposite but the norm is lightweight single glazed poorly insulated and not airtight.

    Central heating when installed is inefficient and expensive given the building quality. Smaller and well built would be the smart option but we have progressively drifted away from the northern hemisphere in building practice since the 20th century.

    The irony is that if houses were smaller, easier to heat and cool and better built then that would become the expectation but it's a cart and horse situation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saul, I am amazed at how this thread has progressed since I posted this. It has been great to hear from different parts of the world and find out what people's expectations are when it comes to meeting the basic need of shelter.

      Many of the larger homes built in Canadian suburbs over the past couple of decades have been lower quality construction. Some experts estimated that while quality built older homes could last for a century or more, the new homes may be around for only a few decades before needing expensive maintenance.

      And don't get me started on prices. In Vancouver, BC the average home price reached over 1 million dollars at the peak of the housing bubble (which is now deflating).

      I am looking forward to a more sensible time when smaller houses are again the norm like they used to be.

      Thanks for reading and joining in on the discussion.

      Delete
  37. Gregg It's too big a topic to cover here, but speculative developers give the impression that there is easy money to be made in the housing market. The hard lessons learned from the sub-prime mortgage crisis suggest otherwise don't they?

    The inescapable fact is that well built houses cost more than flimsy ones but they give good service. If they are built to high standards of energy efficiency they cost even more, but are cheaper to run. With the added effect that emissions are reduced and everybody is better off.

    Trying to build well when material and labour costs go up and up with land value is a huge challenge. Which suggests that the development and funding model is wrong and we need new algorithms.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hey Saul, I read a recent poll in which about 80% of Canadians agreed that "real estate is a good investment right now". This despite an obvious turn in fortunes for those heavily invested in this asset, similar to our friends across the border.

    Yes - new algorithms please. Something that puts sustainability, accessibility and affordability first.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am growing up in a just over 1300sqft one floor and basement house with my parents and 2 dogs on an acre of land in the only home I have ever lived in. I will be moving out soon in the not to distant future and I have been looking at homes recently for myself. I think I could be comfortable alone with about 600sqft with no yard and I would really enjoy a area that does not require a car to live in. I have been driving for 5 years now but in an area like Hilo a bike would do and I would get the most out of life with less house and more freedom financially.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe, It is awesome to hear from someone just setting out on their own that is considering the benefits of the simple life.

      Linda and I decided long ago that we would rather have freedom over stuff. We have never owned our own home because we like not having the hassles involved. All of our rented homes have been small and suitable to our modest needs.

      Good luck in your pursuit of financial freedom. With a smaller, less expensive (or rented) home, and a bicycle to get you around, you would be well on your way.

      Delete
  40. Let me add my two pennies worth in defence of big houses :). I grew up in a very small house shared with my grandma and a great-grand aunt. As an adult and with our family of four, we have moved around Europe for over a decade and for most of the time lived in pretty small places (particularly in the UK).
    While this did not bother us at all, we are nevertheless now - with our next move- upgrading to a 2400sqft low-energy house in Sweden (which will come with an energy bill lower than that for our current 18th-century apartment which is half the size of our new home but boasts gorgeous 3m+ high ceilings…) What I am really looking forward to is the luxury that we will be able to host guests comfortably. For the first time, we will be able to offer a guest room with en-suite bathroom to family, friends or (paying) guests. We can now host exchange students, and know that any visiting friends with children, or our elderly relatives will be more comfortable during their stay, because they can recuperate from socialising in their own room rather than being confined to the living room or one of the children's bedrooms.

    While small spaces are cozy, comfortable and certainly cost efficient, I think that if you want to share your life and living space for extended periods of time with friends, family, or people who come as strangers and leave as friends, a bigger place makes much sense. So I am very much looking forward to the experience (but also keep an open-mind - if the big house proves too much trouble - I know I can downsize anytime :) ).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Birgit, Thanks for adding to the discussion. Different families definitely have different needs when it comes to housing.

      You sound like a gracious host, and I wish you much happiness socializing in your new home. Let us know how it goes.

      Delete
  41. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    I'm from the UK and my girlfriend is Japanese and I have some experience of both countries. The average figure for the UK seems ok if it includes all dwellings (flats and houses) but I'm slightly surprised that the average for Japan is much higher than the UK. I would have thought it would be the same or smaller. Is the Japanese figure the average for flats and houses or just the average for flats?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe it is for flats and houses.

      Delete
  42. AnonymousJune 19, 2013

    I just wanted to say that your post here has inspired me to consider smaller houses. My husband and I currently live in an 1100 sq ft apartment and are looking to buy a house sometime in the next year. I had myself convinced that we had to buy a house bigger than our apartment because that just made sense in my mind. I thought 2000 was an acceptable minimum and even then, only if we planned to upsize to around 3000 in 5 to 10 years.

    It's still too early to say what we'll eventually buy, but this post has certainly changed my way of thinking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't think of a better outcome of writing this post and moderating the ensuing discussion that you have bravely jumped into. House size is of interest to many, shown by the fact that this post has been viewed more times than any other post I have published since starting the NBA blog in 2008.

      Thank you for commenting and letting me know that I have at least encouraged you to question what exactly house size means to YOU. A more rational approach is required, and that is what you are engaging in now. Congratulations.

      You may decide to go the same route after thinking about it, but at least you can say your decision was based on a process that helped weed out the cultural bias from what you REALLY wanted in a home.

      We wish you good and fruitful thinking on this important subject, and would love to hear of the outcome.

      Delete
  43. AnonymousJuly 01, 2013

    What an interesting thread. I came across this page having just bought my first home, a 1600 SF row house. It's more space than I need now, but I hope to get married and start a family before too long. The biggest attraction was the neighborhood - lots of walkable venues for people of all ages and I can metro to work.

    Of all the places I've lived, my favorite was probably my grad school housing. It was a large, old building housing a couple hundred students. The bedrooms were tiny - absolute closets - but the common areas were spacious and inviting, including a large dining hall and even a pub. This generated a sense of community and camaraderie. I've wondered if this model could translate to adult or family living. I later lived in an apartment building with common areas like a pool and a roof deck, but the sense of community never seemed to develop. Not sure why.

    Like the above poster, I think I value location most of all. I've enjoyed urban environments and being close to my "tribe". I've visited European and Middle Eastern cities where people maintain these social networks throughout life. I'm hoping my new neighborhood - a few blocks of single family townhouses in a dynamic city - will help me do the same even after I say goodbye to single life.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Just returned from vacation in Italy and it's not only the houses which are smaller, but everything from cars to stores, and so much more. Thinking now about how to describe the experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina,

      Would love to hear how you describe your experience after having some time to digest what you saw. I had an eye-opening experience my first time in Europe. After that I wondered what was wrong with North America and our flagrantly wasteful ways.

      Delete
  45. This article is not taking into account the difficulty and msiery that people living in small homes face in the densely populated countries of the third world.Slums and high rise apartments are the feature in third world big cities.If u see it or rather smell it u would never call it sustainable or efficient.I live in the dirty city of mumbai in an upper middle class family,but even we have to live in a 900 sq ft home for 5 members and a dog,so imagine the problems faced by the poor.Rich and low dnesity nations like canada and usa can afford to buy large tracts of land and build good homes for everyone,be it rich or poor and ensure total prosperity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,

      Thank you for sharing your experience in Mumbai. I assure you North America has a long way to go before we have "total prosperity". Our houses may be larger, but that does not necessarily mean life is better or that people are happier.

      Like India, and most everywhere on the globe, most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small group at the top. Consumer capitalism has not delivered the prosperity to the masses that it promised back in the 1950s. I am afraid it will not deliver in other countries either.

      Even if it could, there are not the resources for everyone to have big homes and lots of unnecessary stuff. It would be good if everyone, like those people in the slums, could at least get enough.

      Delete
  46. Interesting to read this and the comments. Yes, people want bigger houses but here in Sweden "compact living" is also very popular since 47% of the population live alone. The highest rate of single households in the world! In our capital Stockholm there are 59% living by themselves. Singles rarely live in apartments larger than about 45 sq m. "Normal income" families of four or five often live in houses of about 150 sq m. I have a feeling that the size of the living space is not really the most important here. More important for high status is long distance travelling once or twice a year (mostly to South east Asia) and luxury home design. To renovate kitchen and bathroom VERY often has in recent years become a kind of forced indulgence when you don't know how to spend increasing income. Financial crisis never really hit us yet. Swedes are richer than ever before. The crisis is about the common "socialstic" society falling apart financially but private income getting larger and larger.
    /Eva

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eva,

      I think the comments are the best part of this post! It has turned into a "house size by country forum", which I am more than happy to host. I have learned a lot in these comments, including yours.

      You mention the percentage of people living alone in Sweden, something of which I was unaware. I saw a headline in a Canadian newspaper today about a looming "crisis of loneliness" because more Canadians are living alone than ever before. Many are already reporting experiencing social isolation.

      I wonder why people choose not to spend increasing income on helping others instead of indulging in home improvement projects and jet travel. It is odd that there is more wealth in the world than ever before, but somehow we can't "afford" to take care of each other.

      As you say, it is a crisis. Perhaps if we focused on participating and cooperating in creating a better world for everyone we would get to know each other, and be less lonely.

      Back to house size, I think I would feel less lonely in a small house than a large one.

      Delete
  47. I wonder how much personality type plays into housing preferences. My family of four lives in a 2000 sq ft house now, but until four years ago we lived in a 1200 sq ft apartment. For us, the change has definitely been positive despite the fact that we haven't acquired more "stuff," and I think it's because we're all basically introverts. We were really falling all over each other until we moved, and having more space has definitely led to reduced tensions with in the family and improved well-being for all of us. That said, perhaps a different design of smaller apartment might also have accommodated our needs for privacy and retreat while leaving a smaller ecological footprint -- we just never found that design. My main point is that social status is not the only reason that some people prefer larger homes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,

      Status is not the only reason, but it is a powerful one that we have to watch out for as it clouds our judgement.

      It is interesting how a larger home reduced the tensions in your family. All species have their own tolerance levels when it comes to sharing territory. Ants don't need much personal space. Grizzly bears need lots. Humans fall somewhere in between.

      I know that life got better for me when I didn't have to share a bedroom with my brothers when we were kids.

      Delete
  48. House size can be an ambiguous term. Do these sizes allow for verandas, garages, carports, porticoes, patios etc?... Many of which, in Australia, are incorporated under the same roof and are not so common in many countries. For example, your 'average' 214.6M2 house may incorporate a double garage (approx 45M2) and rear patio (40M2) and front veranda (15M2) with an open plan lounge/kitchen/dining and small bed rooms. Although I personally prefer the big open planned house, living in a smaller house in Europe can be made to feel just as comfortable and to some degree, spacious.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Imagine you would have to choose spending 10,000euro per month for a 100m2 apartment in Monaco (or downtown Manhattan, or downtown Zurich), or the same money per month for a 1,000m2 villa (and 5,000m2 of land included) in the country side of Italy, what would be the best, the most comfortable and the most ethical choice? The maintenance fees would be almost the same in both cases.

    I think we spend most of the daily time in an indoor environment... 8 hours of sleep at home, 8 hours of work at the office, 4 hours of family time and eating and free time at home, and the rest of 4 hours per day outside (sports, walking, etc). In my opinion, I would prefer to have a big or very big home, than to live in a small apartment, for the same money. I love my planet, so I will do my best that my oxygen footprint to be bigger than my carbon footprint. I will plant many trees.

    As long as a person doesn't plant any tree, it's not enough that him to live in a 25m2 apartment, just to show off to the world that he is an ecologist. If I would live in a big 1,500m2 villa and I will plant 100,000 trees in my lifetime, no one should judge me for my lifestyle.

    I don't own anything for the moment, this is just a theory of mine which I would love to apply in real life.

    Andy from Romania
    [now I live in a 23m2 apartment and I don't like it enough; I would change in a minute this apartment with a 1,500m2 villa]

    ReplyDelete
  50. My husband, teenager, jack russel terrier and I live in a little less than 700 sq feet and it's too small. One bedroom and one bathroom does not do it. for the three of us and our doggy Sparky. Our living room goes from a bedroom to living room back to a bedroom. We have no extra money, so upgrading to 900 square feet, which would really help our crowding problem, is not a option as of yet? WE LIVE IN the San Francisco bay area. If any one wonders why we don't move out of the Bay Area it's because I looked for 8 years to find the perfect special needs school for my child. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  51. AnonymousJune 02, 2014

    We go to work only to stress over what needs to be done at home'.
    Thanks again to all of you for reading and listening.
    You need to keep your stress at bay and actually play off it as if it
    was a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
  52. AnonymousJuly 01, 2014

    Friggin bohemians. It's all about manors.

    ReplyDelete
  53. AnonymousJuly 01, 2014

    1000 Sq feet per person is the bare minimum.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I lived in Florida as the worst Real Estate crunch/crash I have ever seen caused the market in central Florida to crumble. I lost my job and I lost my home ... I hit rock-bottom ... it was the worst thing I had ever experienced.

    I was crushed and moved to North Carolina chasing a job offer but felt utterly defeated. After a few months searching, my girlfriend and I (plus her 2 cats and my 1 dog/1 cat) settled on a modest 980 sq ft house. Leaving a 2000+ sq ft home, it seemed like such a demotion in life. I had kept up with the "Jones" while passing a bunch of the "Smiths" ... so I looked very successful until one day I wasn't.

    Fast-forward six years later and I can honestly say that I am better off today than I was in Florida and I love the house we are in. Without realizing it, in Florida, I had become a slave to my mortgage, taxes and insurance. Even if I had been able to keep the house, the added stress (unrecognized at the time) would have negated any perceived benefit. I had lost substantial equity (more than the price of my new home) as the property value plummeted becoming upside down in my mortgage before losing my job. Unemployed, I rode the ship all the way to the bottom continuing to pay the mortgage out of misguided pride.

    The worst chapter in my life became life-changing and I can now say itwas the best thing that ever happened to me! I make a little less money today than I did but find my quality of life is better, I live better and the spare time I have today is far more enjoyable and relaxing than I could have imagined while chained to my bigger, "better" house.

    I wish I had seen your site 7-8 years ago. Being firmly entrenched in the American dream/ mind-set of "bigger is better" or being vain, stupid, stubborn or all the above I had to learn the hard way. Success and wealth is better measured in freedom and happiness than in “things”. The oddest thing after losing everything is that now I have the home and life I always dreamed of.

    Thanks for the Post! I live it and love it!!

    ReplyDelete

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