It's possible that when the housing market finally wakes up from its long recessionary nap, Americans will be just dying to live in newly constructed giant homes again, writes Witold Rybczynski at Slate. "But don't count on it." It's far more likely that we won't see the likes of those boom years from 2000 to 2005 again. "That will mean smaller houses closer together on smaller lots in inner suburbs, fewer McMansions, and fewer planned communities in the distant hinterland."
He cites two other possible long-term patterns in housing:
- More multi-family homes: Household size has increased to roughly six in the last few years as people move in with relatives and friends. That should come down when the market eases and young families seek their own homes, but not entirely.
- More renters: Lots of people are choosing this option instead of plunging into an iffy housing market. "What if people get used to renting?" wonders Rybczynski. Owning a single-family home may be the American way, "but 10 years is long enough for traditions and behavior to change."
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