How the Size of the Typical L.A. Home Has Grown Over the Years

A home in Thousand Oaks
A home in Thousand Oaks

Los Angeles is a pioneer of the McMansion, the oversized new home built to the legal limits of one's property. And some of the areas of the country with the greatest gains in home size over several decades are in Southern California, or just across the state line.

But in the scheme of things residential, L.A. isn't the national leader in a century-long trend of expanding square footage, according to a new report from real estate website PropertyShark.com. "While the U.S. median size of new homes built now is 2,430 [square feet], Los Angeles' new homes are only at 1,800, though considerably larger than San Francisco’s median of 1,150," site spokeswoman Andra Rus said.

PropertyShark says it analyzed 100 years' worth of  data on square footage for single-family homes, condos and co-ops inside the boundaries of the nation's 32 largest cities.

The typical American home has grown a whopping 74 percent, the site found. The L.A. house has only grown about 38 percent in the last century. "The median size of all housing stock here is 1,488 [square feet]," Rus said.

You need to go to Las Vegas, where homes are 191 percent bigger than they were early last century, and San Diego, where they're 124 percent bigger, to find the American cities with the largest residential expansion rates, the analysis found.

Orlando, San Antonio, Nashville and Dallas are the only cities that surpassed the national median home size over the 100-year span. Each gives residents a median size greater than 2,600 square feet, the site says.

Nationwide, the footprint of architectural plans has expanded massively while the number of people living in the average American home has decreased from about 4.5 in 1910 to about 2.6 today. That means "personal living space" also has exploded in the United States, the report states.

"U.S. homes have shown a steady and quite remarkable rate of growth in size over the past 100 years," according to PropertyShark. "The average individual living in a newly built home in the U.S. enjoys 211 percent more living space than their grandparents did."

Still, you can find cozy places, if that's your thing, in Boston (which has a 909-square-foot median over 100 years), San Francisco (1,150), Miami (1,179), Washington, D.C. (1,189), and New York (1,230). The Big Apple actually saw a 11 percent decrease in median home size in the last 100 years, the report found.

The Southwest, then, is America's home expansion leader, the place where you can spread your wings indoors. But L.A. itself still offers denser city living.

How the Size of the Typical L.A. Home Has Grown Over the Years
PropertyShark.com

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