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U.S. Neighborhoods With the Biggest Houses

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Some might call it a simpler time. Others might say life was just less comfortable. In 1973, about three people lived in each household in the U.S. The average single-family home built that year was one story, 1,660 sq. ft., and had two or three bedrooms. It was very rare to have more than two bathrooms.

Home life transformed in the following decades: Increased access to financing allowed first-time home buyers to buy larger residences. More homes were built with two stories, and at least four bedrooms and three bathrooms, U.S. Census Bureau data show. Siblings were no longer expected to share bedrooms. Such new amenities as media rooms were added. By 1990 the average American household had shrunk to about 2.6 people, yet the average single-family home built that year was 2,080 sq. ft.—about an extra 400 sq. ft. (just larger than the average U.S. hotel room, which is 325 sq. ft., according to PricewaterhouseCoopers) compared with 1970.

"The standard of living increased, and most households strived very hard to meet that standard," says Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders.

A small percentage of new homes were even larger: By 2000, 66,000 new homes, about 5 percent of homes built that year, measured 4,000 sq. ft. or more, according to Census Bureau data. By 2006 the total more than doubled to 137,000 homes, 8 percent of homes built that year. In 2007 the average size of completed homes peaked at 2,521 sq. ft.

Some cities around the country—many of them wealthy communities—had a greater proliferation of large homes. Data based on home listings in 20,000 Zip Codes and 200 metro areas provided to Businessweek.com by Altos Research, a real-time real estate data company in Mountain View, Calif., show that the median size of homes for sale with a Cherry Hills Village, 80113 address was the largest in the U.S.: 7,654 sq. ft.—more than three times the U.S. median. The listed homes had a median of six bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Cherry Hills Village, an affluent suburb 10 miles south of downtown Denver, has a high median household income of $226,552, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Most of the largest residences on the market—those bigger than 10,000 sq. ft.—were built in the last decade, according to a search on Zillow.com.

Americans Downsizing

Palatial living will always appeal to those who can afford it, yet practical home buyers are expressing interest in just slightly smaller homes. After the recession, the average size of single-family housing starts fell slightly—by 5 percent since 2007—to 2,382 sq. ft. in 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

In a survey by real estate search company Trulia.com, 55 percent of people prefer a home from 1,401 to 2,600 sq. ft.; only 9 percent prefer a home larger than 3,200 sq. ft. Even though homes have grown in size over the last few decades, only 3.6 percent of nearly 4.8 million homes on Trulia.com are larger than 4,000 sq. ft., according to Daisy Kong, a spokesperson for the company.

While the large number of empty nesters and first-time home buyers will likely prefer smaller, affordable homes, "growing families seek larger homes that most efficiently contribute to their lifestyle demands," says NAHB’s Melman.

In this new age, Melman adds, "now buyers are mostly concerned with affordability, controlling energy costs, and moving into a home that supports their lifestyle—even if it falls short of their ideal."

Here are the 10 American neighborhoods with the largest houses:

No. 10: Hidden Hills, CA., 91302

Median size: 5,522 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 5

Median no. bathrooms: 5.5

No. homes for sale: 50

Median list price: $2,897,500

Hidden Hills, a wealthy community incorporated in 1961, has a population of about 2,000 and about 648 home sites, according to the city website. The 8,259 sq. ft. home at 25015 Abercrombie Lane featured above is listed for $2.88 million, according to Coldwell Banker Previews.

No. 9: Wexford, PA., 15090

Median size: 5,767 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 4

Median no. bathrooms: 3

No. homes for sale: 102

Median list price: $399,950

The area known as Wexford, located near Sewickley (the No. 14 area on this list) and Gibsonia (the No. 20 area on the list), is split among municipalities including Franklin Park, McCandless, Pine Township, and Marshall Township. The 8,389 sq. ft. home pictured above, 160 Windwood Drive, is listed for $1.1 million, according to pittsburghnorthhomes.com.

No. 8: Greenwood Village, CO., 80121

Median size: 5,786 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 5

Median no. bathrooms: 5

No. homes for sale: 60

Median list price: $1,249,000

Greenwood Village, just south of Cherry Hills Village, has a median household income of $114,460, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The 11,276 sq. ft. home above, at 5761 S. Maple Court, has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms (including five full bathrooms) and is listed for $4,995,000, according to the website of Kentwood Real Estate broker associate Sandy Weigand.

No 7: Coral Gables, FLA., 33143

Median size: 5,791 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 5

Median no. bathrooms: 6

No. homes for sale: 52

Median list price: $2,925,000

Known for Mediterranean-style architecture, Coral Gables boasts tree-lined streets and waterfront homes. The house featured above, 330 Dolias Court, is 19,475 sq. ft. and is listed for $4,799,900, according to Avatar Real Estate Services.

No 6: Pittsburgh, PA., 15238

Median size: 5,792 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 4

Median no. bathrooms: 3.5

No. homes for sale: 136

Median list price: $567,450

This area, which includes part of Fox Chapel and Indiana, Pa., has many large homes, both contemporary and built before 1980. The 7,081 sq. ft., seven-bedroom home pictured above, 815 Fox Chapel Road, was reduced to $1,295,000, according to Howard Hanna agent Betsy Monteverde.

No. 5: Atherton, CA., 94027

Median size: 5,900 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 5

Median no. bathrooms: 5

No. homes for sale: 31

Median list price: $5,200,000

Atherton, on the San Francisco Peninsula in Northern California, is a wealthy Zip Code with median household income of $185,000, estimates the U.S. Census Bureau. The 11,000 sq. ft., seven-bedroom home above, 120 Selby Lane, was built in 1906 and is for sale for $7,995,000, according to Coldwell Banker.

No.4: Venetia, PA., 15367

Median size: 6,178.5 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 4

Median no. bathrooms: 3.5

No. homes for sale: 95

Median list price: $498,000

Venetia, about 20 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, is one of the towns in Peters Township. The five-bedroom home at 132 Justabout Road (pictured above), listed for $3.2 million, has 12,000 sq. ft. of living space and sits on 4.8 acres, according to Karen Marshall Group Keller Williams Realty.

No. 3: Leawood, KS., 66211

Median size: 6,312 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 5

Median no. bathrooms: 5

No. homes for sale: 39

Median list price: $1,199,000

Leawood, about 15 miles from downtown Kansas City, has a median household income of $127,162, estimates the Census Bureau. The six-bedroom home above, 11129 Brookwood Ave. in Hallbrook Farms, is listed for $1,995,000 and measures 8,550 sq. ft., according to Hallbrook Realty.

No. 2: Rancho Santa Fe, CA., 92067

Median size: 6,424 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 5

Median no. bathrooms: 6

No. homes for sale: 222

Median list price: $3,425,000

Large homes are standard in Rancho Santa Fe, an exclusive community about 25 miles north of San Diego. The median household income in Rancho Santa Fe is $197,446, according to Census Bureau estimates. The home above, 17231 Camino De Montecillo, is 10,836 sq. ft. and is on the market for $3,499,000, according to a listing from Global One Real Estate agent Talechia Principato.

No. 1: Cherry Hills Village, CO., 80113

Median size: 7,654 sq. ft.

Median no. bedrooms: 6

Median no. bathrooms: 7

No. homes for sale: 81

Median list price: $2,395,000

This exclusive Denver suburb, just north of this list’s No. 8 area, Greenwood Village, has homes priced from about $700,000 to $12 million, according to real estate website larryhotz.com. The area has many estate-size properties, some of which have horse stables, in contemporary, classic ranch, Mediterranean, and French Country styles, according to denverrealestate.com. The 20,198 sq. ft. home above, at 7 Cherry Hills Park Drive, has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms (including four full bathrooms) and is for sale for $8.75 million, according to the website of Kentwood Real Estate broker associate Sandy Weigand.

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Written by appraisalmanagementnews

May 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Real Estate Market

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