Bigger is Better for Foreign House Hunters: Dutch, Irish and Brits Want Bigger Homes

by Chicago Agent

By Tara Steele, AGBeat

While the average homebuyer in America is searching for smaller and smaller homes every year, foreign seekers looking at American properties are searching for big properties.

According to Trulia, out of all foreign buyers looking in the US, the Dutch look at the largest homes, with their average search when looking at American properties about 2,400 square feet, compared to the average American’s search for an 1,854-square-foot home. Meanwhile, Argentinians look at homes just over half that size, on average, 1,300 square feet. Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko tells AG that based on Trulia search data, “people in most foreign countries are looking at larger US homes than Americans are.”

It is no secret that foreign money has helped drive demand for homes in the U.S., particularly bargain hunters. New data from Trulia shows that “the rest of the world might make fun of Americans for our big portions, big homes and big butts, but it turns out that most foreigners look at bigger homes than what most Americans look at – among all searches of U.S. homes on Trulia.”

While the Dutch search for the largest homes, they are followed closely by Ireland, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway. Trulia jokes that “the Dutch, Swedes and Norwegians are also among the world’s tallest people. Do they look at bigger houses because they need more room? Or because countries with taller populations tend to be richer, and people in richer countries can afford bigger homes?”

On the other end of the spectrum, some countries prefer to search for smaller homes in America, including Americans. In terms of the median square footage, the U.S. makes the bottom 10 of the chart at right. Mexicans, Canadians, Indians, Russians, Nigerians, Israelis and Argentinians all look for homes smaller than 1,845 square feet. The Argentinians, Trulia says, look in Miami more than anyplace else. Israelis seeking smaller square footage look in New York the most. Both Miami and New York have strong condo markets, which Trulia says is the reason those countries are seeking smaller housing units.

In a separate survey by Trulia earlier this year, the company found that not only had the median “ideal home size” for Americans declined to 2,100 square feet, but that a third of the study’s respondents reported an ideal home size of 1,400 to 2,000 square feet.

International preferences are interesting, and a strong indicator of what types of properties are trending with foreign buyers, whether they are McMansions or condos; but it is quite fascinating that Americans, famous for making everything “Biggie Sized,” have search patterns that prove that as a nation, we aren’t looking for McMansions quite the same way the Dutch and Swedes are.



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