If you check out the “What I read” page that I recently added to Architect This City, you might notice a blog by Charlie Gardner called the Old Urbanist. I discovered it a few months ago (when he added ATC to his blog roll) and it’s good stuff.
Last week he posted this interesting piece comparing homeownership rates and house sizes in both Mexico and the US. His finding is that there’s a fundamental mismatch in America in terms of the size of housing and the size of households. One and two person households now represent more than half of the market, and are on the rise, and yet 40% of houses in the US have 3 bedrooms.
Because of this mismatch, he’s arguing that households are being poorly served by the US housing market and that it’s driving down homeownership levels. It currently sits around 65%, which is a drop from over 69% during the mid 2000s. Contrast this to Mexico, where there’s a greater number of one and two person households and the homeownership rate is 80%! Oh, and where only 6% of homes are financed using a mortgage.
So what the Old Urbanist is suggesting is that we need to embrace smaller homes. He doesn’t explicitly say it, but he mentions the opportunity to redevelop laneways and alleys, which many of you will know I fully agree with. It’s a great post and I suggest you have a read if this topic interests you.