The other day, as I pulled into my office parking lot, two thoughts struck me. First, for a change, I was not looking at a lot filled with SUV's. Second, the car color of choice was clearly silver.
A few minutes on the computer, confirmed at least one of my astute, if extremely belated, observations. According to PPG Industries, a leader in automotive coatings, silver has indeed been the most popular car color choice, for the past nine years.
Digging a bit further, I found a chart of sales data, by car size segments, sourced from Autodata Corporation's, MotorIntelligence.com website. Indeed, YTD, overall car sales were increasing at twice the rate of SUV sales (18.4% vs 9.3%.) Among the car sales segments, Mid-sized car sales were up 25.8% vs YTD, April 2009. Interestingly, Luxury SUV sales soared 37.6%, during the same period, while the only car segment to post a decline was small SUV's, down 21.8%.
I wondered if this downsizing trend would carry over to home sales. While I have not looked up the statistics, empirical data would suggest that sales by median home size has declined during the current housing downturn. Some obvious factors contributing to this decline would include:
* The higher percentage of 1st time homebuyers, as repeat buyers wait for the market to improve.
* For homeowners choosing to make a move, reduced equity from the sale of their current homes impacting the choice (i.e. size) of their next home.
* Increased maintenance costs, as energy prices rise, making larger homes considerably more expensive to heat and cool.
In Westport, 20% of the single family homes, currently for sale, are 6,000 s.f., or more. Only 13% of the YTD sales were for those "McMansions." Compared with previous YTD sales, 6,000+ s.f. homes accounted for 15%, 16% and 11%, respectively, for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
As the economy recovers, it will be interesting to see if builders modify the size of new construction or consumers resume their demand for larger homes.
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