We can’t say we anticipated the housing market losing so much steam so fast, but we did anticipate a trend where downsizing would become a vibrant niche in the home building industry. As more and more developers and builders see the “new normal” coming at them, they are struggling to understand what it means.

Well, I can tell them what it means:

  1. People don’t want to spend so much money buying and maintaining a big home;
  2. Neither do they want to spend so much time taking care of a large home and lot;
  3. They don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on utility bills;
  4. And neither do they want to spend so much time and money commuting.

Now, you might say each of these points has an economic foundation. That is the gist of this article, Death of the ‘McMansion’: Era of Huge Homes Is Over:

Just 9 percent of the people surveyed by Trulia said their ideal home size was over 3,200 square feet. Meanwhile, more than one-third said their ideal size was under 2,000 feet.

She said the trend there is more toward building green homes instead of big homes. Right now, they’re building a 1,200-square-foot uber-green home for a couple that’s downsizing from 3,000-square feet, Cheatham explained.”

What’s more, many in the real-estate business say they think this trend of downsizing, or “right-sizing,” as Flint likes to call it, is here to stay.

All true, all very interesting, but take a look at some
of the thousands of responses to the article and you will see two other engines of change: the desire to protect our environment and to create a stronger sense of community. In our experience at Pringle Creek Community, the equation includes wanting to downsize and simplify, to reduce ones carbon footprint and save money. People want to live in a neighborhood where a culture of sustainability and stewardship prevails, where ecological and social values lead to green and safer streets, community orchards and gardens, mature groves of fir, oak and redwoods connected by walking and biking trails.

Pringle Creek Community is about downsizing housework and yard work and upsizing the important things, like friends, community, nature. Pringle Creek’s renewable energy comes not just from solar panels and ground-source geothermal systems; there is renewable energy in the smiles of people who come to Pringle Creek Community for the first time and immediately recognize something remarkable is happening here. And from the residents here, who renew my energy when I meet them at the CafĂ© or walking or biking through the neighborhood. They recharge my batteries every time.