How Big a House Do You Need? Need?

The story was titled, ‘living very large,’ and the photo was an aerial shot of one of Los Angeles’ most massive single family homes. It looked more like a hotel, but it indeed was Hyatt hotel heir Anthony Pritzker’s newest house, tipping the scales at 49,300 square feet. Apparently these megahomes are the hottest thing in building, even as new home starts hit an all-time low in 2011.

So what do you get when you buy a house that has a master bedroom as big as the average American’s entire home? One trend that’s spreading are two-level basements. Then you can pack a bowling alley, your staff bedrooms, and lots of garages down there. Honestly, Pritzker’s house looks more like the headquarters of the CIA than a comfy retreat, but the other houses in the story looked more like, well, houses.

Take New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen’s new digs. It looks sort of like a house, it’s just stretched way, way out across a Brentwood hillside. It weighs in at 18,300 square feet and you drive over a bridge to get there. They have something called a ‘morning bar’ near their huge playroom, library and many terraces.

A son of Saudi Arabia’s king has even bigger plans for his new home in LA. He originally wanted to build an 85,000 square foot Italianate mansion, but neighbors objected. So he scaled it down to a more reasonable 70,000 square feet. The average single family home in the US is now 2392 square feet, about the size of one of these house’s master closets.