More Space, Please: Sales of Large Homes Up 21%

The typical home that sold in the four weeks ending August 16 was 3.7% larger (1,772 square feet) than sold a year earlier, when it was just 0.4% larger, said Redfin, Seattle.

The report noted even though sales of large homes rose by 21% year over year nationwide in July—sales grew nearly 10 times faster for large homes than small homes—small and medium-sized homes saw the bigger price increases. The price of the typical small home was up 8.1% year over year in July, versus a 7.5% increase for medium-sized homes and a 6.7% increase for large homes.

“Most people would prefer a large home over a small home given the choice,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “That’s true regardless of what’s happening in the world, although spending more time at home due to the pandemic is encouraging some homebuyers to seek out bigger houses with bigger yards. But affordability still reigns, which is why the market for large homes isn’t much hotter than for smaller homes. The lines are drawn economically. The people with steady work-from-home jobs are able to move away from city centers, or even to entirely different parts of the country, and find more space for a similar price. But a lot of people searching for homes are in less advantageous financial situations and can’t afford more space even if they want it.”

Redfin said the average minimum square footage of users’ saved searches was 1,864 so far in August, up from 1,794 a year ago and up from 1,803 in January. The size of sought-out homes has been growing over the past five years, up from 1,685 in January 2016.

“People want bigger: Bigger houses, bigger properties,” said Vancouver, Wash., Redfin agent Chriss Houghton. “That’s what people are asking for, whether their idea of big is a half-acre, one acre or 10 acres. If people are living in a small cookie-cutter home right now, they want a larger house with extra rooms and a dedicated place for an office.”

The story is similar for homes that went under contract in July, with large homes experiencing a 16.1% year-over-year increase in pending sales, compared with 9% for medium-sized homes and 2.6% for small homes.

The report said small and medium-sized homes saw their prices increase slightly more than large homes. The price of the typical small home was up 8.1% year over year to $199,900 in July, versus a 7.5% increase to $322,500 for medium-sized homes and a 6.7% increase to $539,000 for large homes. The bigger price increase for smaller homes is likely due to buyers prioritizing affordability. Seventeen percent of homebuyers said the pandemic has caused them to want a less expensive home, according to the aforementioned survey.

Redfin said the typical small home sold 19 days faster than the typical large home. The typical small home went under contract in 28 days (2 fewer days than last year), versus 34 days (-2) for medium-sized homes and 47 days (-3) for large homes. Just under 39% of small homes went under contract within two weeks (up from 28.9% last year), compared with 34.1% of medium-sized homes (up from 22.8%) and 24.1% of large homes (up from 14.3%). It’s typical for more expensive homes to take longer to sell.

New listings of large homes were up 7.6% year over year, while they were down 8.3% for small homes and down 1% for medium-sized homes. Redfin said the uptick in new listings of large homes could be partly due to owners of larger, more expensive homes realizing they have the potential to earn a significant amount of money by selling their home. 

“Owners of single-family homes are recognizing it’s a good time to capitalize on demand from people who want more room, both inside and outside, to accommodate all the new things they’re doing at home,” said Seattle Redfin agent Jessie Culbert Boucher. “Some people have been in their large family homes for decades, they’ve been thinking about selling and see that now is a good time. Others—and these are definitely not the ones who have lost their jobs during the pandemic—are putting their big houses on the market and taking advantage of low mortgage rates to upgrade into even larger, even nicer homes.”

The report can be accessed at