DEFINITION of 'McMansion'

A slang term that describes a large, opulent house that may be generic in style and represents a good value for a homebuyer in terms of its size. This type of home is built to provide middle and/or upper middle class homeowners with the luxurious housing experience that was previously only available to high-net-worth individuals.

The McMansion term is meant as a play on McDonald's fast food restaurants, as these homes also represent the pervasiveness and excessive consumption that critics often associate with Mcdonald's.

BREAKING DOWN 'McMansion'

McMansions are often considered a status symbol because their size (often in excess of 3,000 square feet) may exceed the amount of space that shrinking modern families actually need or can afford to maintain.

Many McMansion homeowners live beyond their means as mortgages on these monstrous properties may be 100% mortgages, interest-only mortgages and/or amortized over 40 or more years. The cost of utilities and maintenance in a larger home are also more significant, as is the cost of commuting from the distant suburban settings in which these homes are often located.

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