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Are McMansions Making People Any Happier?

Since 1973, the size of the average American house has increased from 1500 square feet to 2500 square feet. And since the average number of people in each house has decreased, we have almost twice as much space per person as we did back then. But are larger houses making people happier? There are many potential homeowners unhappy that new construction aims toward large, expensive houses at the expense of affordable first homes, but research shows that homeowners aren't any happier, either. Researcher Clément Bellet found that satisfaction with one's home has remained fairly steady, and wanted to find out why.  

This finding, Bellet reasons, has to do with how people compare their houses with others in their neighborhood—particularly the biggest ones. In his paper, which is currently under peer review, he looks closely at the construction of homes that are larger than at least 90 percent of the other houses in the neighborhood. By his calculation, if homes in the 90th percentile were 10 percent bigger, the neighbors would be less pleased with their own homes unless those homes grew 10 percent as well. Moreover, the homeowners most sensitive to such shifts are the ones whose houses are in the second-biggest tier, not the ones whose houses are median-sized.

If that sounds confusing, you'll find more of an explanation, and further findings, at the Atlantic.

(Image credit: merfam)

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This calls for a call out to McMansion Hell -- - It's strayed a bit from its original purpose (to call out the nightmare that is the average McMansion) but it's amusing to wander through -- I believe she coined the term "lawyer foyer" (which you can probably figure out is one of those overly grand ones.)
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Having brick work on my house that looks like a blotchy skin rash sure would make me unhappy. What is going on there? Are they just using up extra bricks that they had kicking around?
Anyhoo... McMansions... don't understand. More space = more junk to fill it will. Just consumer traps.
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