America has long been dubbed the land of diversity, and our wide range of tastes is certainly reflected in our housing choices. There’s something for every preference, whether it be the architectural style (colonial, post-modern, Tudor, Victorian), the siding (wood, brick, stucco, vinyl) or the locale (urban, rural, coastal, plains).
However, popular trends do tend to dominate the real estate market, and recently those trends have been fluctuating based on economic factors. For example, in the 1990s, we saw the birth of the “McMansion” — large, newly constructed homes boasting 4,000+ square feet. A bastion of the middle class, these homes were often generic in style, supersized and built quickly, hence the nod to the McDonald’s style of dining. However, nickname aside, these homes gave up-and-coming families the “we’ve arrived” stamp of respectability and affluence.
When the recession hit, many of these houses began to lose equity, and the not-so-big-house became the trend once again. In recent years, we’ve also seen downsizing to the extreme, in the form of “Tiny Houses,” a 100 to 1,000 square foot hut no bigger than a camper, many of which are on wheels for convenient relocation.
Many retirees have found a happy medium in retirement by “right-sizing” their homes after the children move out. Moving to a smaller house once the need for kids’ bedrooms disappears provides the dual advantages of lower living expenses — such as reduced property taxes, utility bills and maintenance, as well as a more convenient means to “age in place” without the upkeep burden of a large home.
If you’re behind on your retirement savings goals, right-sizing may be an option. In many areas of the country, residential prices have risen considerably due to continued low inventory, which offers the potential for a good return on your home investment. Depending on your individual situation, you might want to consider buying a less expensive home and using some of your net proceeds to strengthen your retirement savings. If you’re in the market for buying or selling a house, you should consider talking with a qualified professional. Come talk to us if you’d like to learn more about retirement income strategies that may be suitable for you.
Interested in reading more? Here are some articles that may be of interest to you:
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “An About-Face for McMansions” from The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2015.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “5 Stellar Tiny Houses You Can Buy Right Now” from Curbed.com, April14, 2016.]
[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Baby Boomers, Downsizing for Retirement, Create Niche Real Estate Market” from Curbed.com, March 22, 2016.]
Raymond C. Lantz, Jr. is the president and founder of USA Wealth Group, Inc. Ray has many years of experience advising clients in retirement and sophisticated tax planning strategies, multi-family and commercial real estate projects, and legacy planning. Ray is a graduate of Clark University, holds a law degree from Boston College, and a master of laws in taxation from Boston University. You can hear him every Sunday on Money Wise with Ray Lantz on WBSM 1420AM or on the Radio Pup app.