McMansions In This Market? Buyers Say "No Thanks"

Home buyers are increasingly choosing cheaper homes over more expensive options.

By SHARE

Back when the only requirement to get a loan was a detectable pulse, many Americans pulled out all the stops when it came to borrowing big bucks to finance palatial mega-mansions.

After all, bigger was better, right?

[Read: Why We're Shunning the McMansion.]

That mentality has changed in the wake of the housing market meltdown, according to new research from real estate website Trulia, with more buyers opting for bargain-bin homes than pricey pads with all the bells and whistles.

Starting in 2009, homes sales for properties under $100,000 surpassed sales for properties listed at more than $500,000. (Keep in mind that the median sales prices for a home (new or previously-owned) stands around $200,000.) That's in stark contrast to the boom years (2005 to 2007) when Americans apparently couldn't get enough of homes selling for upwards of $500,000.

A lot of that reversal has to do with sinking home values, but a new frugal mindset and a recalibration of how Americans view homeownership also has something to do with it.

"Thanks to today's recessionista mindset, it's just not fashionable to have a big flashy home," the research says. "Instead buyers want to know, 'how low can it go?' when it comes to home prices."

[Read: Priciest Place to Live in the U.S.? Surprise: It's Not NYC.]

The jury is still out on homebuyers' preferences in 2011, but if the trend holds, pricier homes could be sitting on the market longer while cheaper places see more interest from buyers.

Will your next home purchase be a bargain-basement buy? Weigh in with a comment below.

mhandley@usnews.com

Twitter: @mmhandley

  • Are Green Homes Always Better? Depends on Location.
  • As HARP 2.0 Heats Up, Beware of Fraud.
  • Down Payments: What Are Buyers Really Paying?