From the Star Ledger:
The pair of new houses that sit at the top of Truman Place off Route 1 in NorthBrunswick fit right in with the upscale style that has dominated residential architecture for the past decade.
Brick-and-vinyl facades with contemporary lines. Hardwood floors, oak railings and 9-foot ceilings.
But the twin colonials have one feature that proves they were built for the next generation homeowner: Each has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, all packed into 2,000 square feet — a third less space than the definitive McMansion of the past, and three-quarters the size of the typical home built in 2008.
Call it a McBargain.
“The idea was, in this economy, the most important thing is probably the price,” said Gregory Ginzburg, who bought the lot in 2008, aiming to build two houses on a space that earlier in the decade would have held just one. “From the reply from the public, from the calls, I had so many offers on that house you can’t even imagine.”
The two homes are reflective of the new mantra among homebuilders trying to get the market started again in New Jersey: Smaller will sell.
The recession destroyed the new home industry, which
had been chugging along by churning out big-footprint, big-ticket homes. Builders are retooling by downsizing, with floor plans that use less space and smart design. New homes will continue to shrink, according to the Otteau Valuation Group in East Brunswick. Homes that are being planned now are about 200-square-feet smaller on average than at the height of the housing boom at 2,650 square-feet in 2007, the appraiser said.
Price has a lot to do with it, builders say, and it has led to a shift in home design, as well. A separate living room is out, replaced by a “great room” that sits in a central location in the house, said Andrew Zastko, a real estate agent who sold one of Ginzburg’s homes. Lower property taxes also entice buyers to smaller homes, he added.
“I honestly got a great deal,” said Narsinghani, 28, who paid about $360,000. “For a 15-year-old home with the same amount of rooms, it was costing me $450,000 — maybe even $500,000. I mean, I’m getting a brand new home with a brand new bath and a basement.”