The End of a Housing Era: McMansions Losing Their Luster

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Bye bye, garage mahals. Hello, economical homes.

New research delves into a harsh reality — with tough economic times in the background, large residences are no longer a given.’s 2010 American Dream survey notes that from 1950 to 2004, the average size of an American home jumped from from 983 square feet to 2,349 square feet.

But according a July 2010 Trulia-Harris interactive survey, that figure is poised to drop for the first time in six decades. Among individuals polled, only nine percent were looking in the McMansion range: a house covering at least 3,000 square feet, built in proximity to other palaces. In contrast, 64 percent of those polled were looking for dream homes of 800-2,600 square feet.

“That’s something that would’ve been unbelievable just a few years back,” Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia, told CNBC. “Americans are moving away from McMansions.” (See a TIME special on high-end homes that won’t sell.)

From the builders’ side, there’s evidence of the same sad state for real estate junkies. A San Diego Union-Tribune report reveals that nine out of 10 architects surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders are signing on to smaller, less costly projects than in previous years.