LARGER HOMES, SMALLER BEDROOM NUMBERS
Many of the articles written for this blog focus on houses that average people can own and afford. But it’s occasionally interesting to take a look at more expensive housing, expressly, mansions. In one recent article, we discussed the McMansion trends. Now, it appears that another trend in mansion housing is fewer bedrooms.
A recent article in the “Wall Street Journal” pointed out that some luxury homeowners, tired of unused bedrooms, long-staying houseguests and wasted space, are reducing the number of sleeping quarters in their houses1. Instead, excess sleeping space is dedicated to amenities and hobby type rooms.
However, when it comes time to sell, larger houses with low bedroom counts can remain on the market longer. These homes also command higher prices, according to Realtor.com. Interestingly enough, Realtor.com dubbed San Francisco and Brooklyn as the top luxury housing markets in 2016, with Los Angeles, Manhattan and Santa Clara, CA rounding out the top five.
Defining a Luxury Home
In 2016, the typical luxury-type home measured a median 4,706 square feet, and had five bedrooms (breaking out to one bedroom for every 1,000 square feet, or more than 1,500 square feet for each bedroom). Realtor.com, in releasing its Luxury Home Index, defines “luxury” by the top price of each market, relying on prices as a moving measure to track and identify the luxury tier in each market, over time2.
Realtor.com found out that:
· Houses with a higher living-space-to-bedroom ratio (in other words, those that had fewer bedrooms), spent than average of 117 days on the market, and sold for an average of $1.4 million.
· Houses with less than 750 square feet per bedroom spent 91 days on the market. These sold for an average of $915,000.
Additionally, the National Association of Home Builders noted that in 2016, 97% of all new homes for sale asking $1 million or higher had at least four bedrooms. Basically, a lack of bedrooms in large, luxury homes can be a disadvantage.
The Wall Street Journal wrote about a one-bedroom, 3,218-squre-foot beach house in Southern California’s Malibu beach community, which once belonged to film producer Irwin Allen. The hose was listed in 2014, for approximately $8 million. Later, in the year, it relisted for $7 million. By January, 2017, the listing price was down to $6 million. According to the WSJ, a one-bedroom house can be lacking in a neighborhood in which houses have three or more bedrooms.
Appealing to DINKs
So, who buys such houses? Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the prime buyer for these properties are high net-work couples that have no children. The double-income-no-kids set like the choice of fewer bedroom and more living space. But again, resale can be difficult in such situations. Jeff Grinspoon, who is trying to sell his 7,569-square-foot, two-bedroom Chicago mansion is marketing the property as having three bedrooms. The ground-floor library, he told the WSJ, can be converted into a guest room.