Will the Declining Home Size Trend Continue After the “Recession”?

I’ve been reading lately about people downsizing their homes. Just like how home sizes kept getting larger during “good times”, now they’re getting smaller during “bad times”. I’m fine with that. It makes perfect sense.

What drives me nuts are predictions that this will continue. After home sizes supposedly peaked, suddenly mankind has reached a new awareness that too big a home isn’t necessary and even if the “recession” ended tomorrow and prosperity returned, some people claim the trend will continue.

In the Navy, we had what we called a “BS” flag. We actually said the entire term, but I won’t here. I’d like to raise the BS flag on this one. I highly doubt that if tomorrow the entire nation woke up prosperous, we’d continue to downsize our homes. I’m sure people would go right back to borrowing too darn much and living in too large of houses and driving more car than they need just because everybody else is doing it.

I think it’s far smarter to just buy what you need with plans for expansion than to buy what everybody else has just because it’s what everybody else has. I think the current home downsizing trend is just a continuation of the “I gotta be cool” trend when everybody went out and bought bigger houses. Once it’s cool to have a big house again, everybody will be looking for bigger houses. Right now it’s cool to sell the big house and buy a smaller one, so that’s what the herd is doing. At least, that’s what my survey of the blogs I follow indicates. Of course, some of the blogs I follow claim Apple is working on a 10” iPod Touch that will be their version of a netbook. They claim all kinds of things, but I’ve seen several posts and links to articles on this home downsizing trend. The one today that I read stating that it’ll continue made me want to post my thoughts.

In our case, we’re combining households out of necessity. For 2 years, we’ve been trying to sell our house and move in with my in-laws. Since we don’t have the equity to sell because I got stupid just like the rest of the sheople and over-leveraged my house, now we’re trying to sell their house and move them in with us. Except for their basement and land, our house is bigger.

Don’t do anything just because the rest of the crowd is doing it. I’m not saying that’s always wrong, but in cases involving your family’s finances and future, then it’s wrong just to follow the herd. There are cases where it’s OK to follow the herd because it’s fun and won’t hurt anybody. If your family needs a larger house and or you can afford one, great. Keep it.

In some cases, the crowd is actually right. I’m planning to follow the crowd and get an iPhone soon. It’s a good product, and I want it. In this case, the crowd is right. Windows Mobile sucks, which I’ve learned the hard and expensive way. It sucks and it’s not going to get better. No amount of “positive thinking” or “benefit of the doubt” will change that. Windows Mobile just plain sucks.

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