As New Homes in Massachusetts Get Bigger, Enviros Get Worried

If Americans follow the trend in Massachusetts, they’ll increasingly be living in larger homes on larger lots, even though fewer people reside in each house. A new report by the Massachusetts Audubon Society found that the state is losing 40 acres of forest, farmland, and open space to development every day, with about 90 percent of that going to new home construction. Between 1970 and 2001, the average square footage of a new single-family home grew by 44 percent, while the average size of a house lot grew by 47 percent. “If you care about affordable housing, if you care about habitat, this is really bad news,” said Kevin Breunig, the report’s author. Home builders say they’re responding to consumer demand for bigger houses and to many local zoning regulations that favor tracts of spread-out homes over dense, multi-unit housing.