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Seattle houses are getting bigger while households get smaller

The trend of bigger houses is back again - at least according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Houses are getting bigger. The era of the downsized house has taken a breather. For three years after the Great Recession, the average and median house sizes dropped as people waited to see what would happen. Now, the growth trend is back again - at least according to the US Census Bureau.

Your house is probably about average, or close to the median - at least in size. How big is big? How tiny is tiny? There's no upper limit to big, though there are few as large as the 19,676 square foot mansion we wrote about recently. The lower limit isn't zero. There are people living in sub-100 square foot tiny houses on wheels, but it is uncommon to get below 200 square feet for a house, unless it's off the grid and in the woods.

As of 2013, the median was 2,359 square feet for houses on the West Coast, and the average was 2,524 square feet. That means half the houses built were above 2,359 square feet and half were below. The average was higher because a few very large houses skew the math, suggesting that while tiny houses, minimalism, and downsizing are trendy, most builders are deciding or being asked to build bigger.

The houses are getting bigger, but the households are getting smaller. Does it feel like you have more room? What's the best size for you?

Here are three Seattle houses, something small, something medium, and something large.

At 570 square feet, some tiny house champions would scoff, but this 2 bedroom, 1 bath house is about a quarter the average or median house. It may not look fancy, but it has the basics for a price that is also below the median, $280,000.

A nearly median house, 2,340 square feet, for a nearly median price, $559,722 means a 4 bedroom, 2 bath Cape Cod from 1941. Undoubtedly, it will be just right for someone, and appealing to many. It also means a common lot size of 6,917 square feet, and no view. Bump the acreage and the view and find median houses with far from median prices.

Go more than four times the median and find the houses that should have it all, like this 1905 Georgian Revival with 10,416 square feet of living space holding 5 bedrooms and 7 baths. A 0.34 acre lot on Capitol Hill is enough to pump the price; but, it is the quality and the luxury that help set the listing price of $8,900,000. Enjoy the billiards room, the wine cellar, the theater, sunroom, and library. The only way to fit all that in is to make it big, and in this case, grand.
· The 10 most expensive properties for sale on the San Juan Islands right now [CS]
· Median and Average Square Feet of Floor Area in New Single-Family Houses (pdf) [US]
· 540 S Henderson St [Zillow]
· 1202 NE 117th St [Zillow]
· 725 14th Ave E [Zillow]