May 21, 2019

The New American Dream Home

“In the southwest corner of Elk Grove, Calif., about 15 miles outside of Sacramento, there’s a shell of a shopping center that was partially built during the peak of the real estate bubble, then abandoned when the market crashed. Locals have taken to calling it the Ghost Mall. Look in one direction from the Ghost Mall and you’ll see farmland. Turn the other way and you’ll see what looks like a brand-new town being built from scratch.

From a distance, the whole thing looks just like the kind of master-planned suburban community that went up along the outermost edges of cities all over America in the early 2000s, before the housing bubble burst. And in many ways, it is. But the American dream of homeownership has changed in the last decade — and so has the American dream home.

A decade ago, a dream home was designed to wow your friends and neighbors. Today, it’s designed to house your relatives. Or your Airbnb guests. And also be your workplace. Homebuilders say one of the biggest selling points in 2018 isn’t a three-car garage or a grand entryway — it’s a home with flexibility.

Now, even as many housing markets have roared back from the bust to boom again, the American dream home is one you never have to leave.”

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