The Los Angeles City Council this week banned residents and builders in 20 communities from expanding their existing homes with oversized additions or tearing them down and replacing them with McMansions.
A city report said the oversized homes are threatening the “cohesion and character” of the 15 affected neighborhoods and five historic districts.
The two-year ban places varying restrictions on the size of single-family homes according to neighborhood. In some, tear-downs will not be allowed at all. In others, tear-downs may continue, but a replacement home can’t be more than 20% larger than the old structure. And others will modify a square-footage restriction already in effect so it counts the size of a home's basement.
Many homebuilders have opposed the rule. “It supports the loud voices of a few,” Ezra Gale, the Building Industry Association's director of government affairs, told The Los Angeles Daily News. He said the size restriction will decrease property values.
Many builders nationwide have gravitated toward building large, high-end luxury homes over the past few years as younger buyers—the ones most likely to choose affordable, entry-level houses—delay homeownership. The builders have targeted the consumer who is most able to afford to buy now—the move-up buyer with money for more space and pricier upgrades.