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New Home Shoppers Want Great Rooms, Spa Baths and More Connectivity

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By Debbie Arrington

One kitchen/great room combo had a layout that could double as a small restaurant. The L-shaped area had space for three dining sets — one adjacent to the kitchen, another for more formal gatherings in the living area and a third near a media wall that could double as a game table. Separating the kitchen from the great room, a 14-foot island served as a buffet and breakfast bar. Every eating area could see the media wall, anchored by a 70-inch flat-screen TV.

Meant for entertaining, this great room can hold a crowd. At a recent community event, 75 people gathered in this space.

“And it still felt comfortable,” said Danielle Tocco of Standard Pacific Homes. “It’s the perfect kind of room for a large family.”

Said Lake, “Dining, cooking, communication; they’re all connected. We used to be more compartmentalized. Now, people want flow.”

In 40 years, new homes have grown substantially nationwide. The average new home is 44 percent larger than one built in 1973, according to real estate statistics. Back then, the average new house measured 1,660 square feet. In 2007, the national average hit 2,521.

Although construction came to a virtual standstill during the recession, home size slipped only slightly. The average new house still measures 2,480 square feet.

A mid-size home is now considered anything between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet. According to U.S. Census statistics, about 20 percent of new homes fall in that category. Almost 20 percent fit the 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot range. Another 7 percent top 4,000 square feet.

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