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Upsizing: for developers, there’s little downside

5/16/2015 | Real Estate Blog

We have all seen the cute photos of “tiny houses.” Sometimes they look like playhouses and sometimes they look like a place where you could go to bed, to the bathroom and watch a tiny TV in the living room all at the same time.

While the “tiny houses” appeal to certain folks, there is still a strong urge in the Philadelphia area for big houses. A recent survey showed that 43 percent of Americans want a bigger house than they live in now.

Baby boomers want bigger houses, Gen X wants to upsize and millennials want a larger house, too. Age doesn’t matter, but size does  — a fact that developers can appreciate.

While downsizing gets a lot of press, the reality is that a lot of Philadelphia buyers want bigger homes. “Would-be downsizers outnumber upsizers only among households living in the largest homes,” a housing economist told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Buyers in the suburbs often want a big house in a nice location — and they are willing to pay a premium for it, a Pennsylvania developer said. Many times the combination of what suburban buyers want (and what they can afford) means they end up with a bigger house on a smaller lot.

That way, they get the prime location and the big house, but no longer have vast green yards to mow. The reality is that the trend works out: buyers are tired of spending weekends riding on their mowers, anyway.

Developers are eager to make the best use possible of the dwindling land supply available. The first step is to dream big, and then make that dream happen by having at your side an attorney who understands that success for a real estate project is often achieved by optimizing land use, understanding zoning regulations and knowing how to push for project approval.