The lighter side of real estate

Mitt Romney’s Proposed Summer Home More than 6 Times Larger than Average U.S. Home

David Cross

Content Editor

232 articles, 24 comments

With former Senator Rick Santorum’s decision earlier this month to drop out of the GOP primary race, the stage has been set for a face off between former Massachusetts’ governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

As the race for the White House heats up, political pundits will hammer away at the candidates looking for weak spots in their armor. One question that’s tossed around each election cycle is how candidates relate to the average American voter. It’s a fair question, and the answer might depend on where you sit on the red-blue divide.

But a more specific question is how do the candidates relate to the average American homeowner? In 2008, then-presidential candidate John McCain made a gaffe when he blanked on the number of homes he owned. More recently, Romney has undergone some scrutiny for both the number of houses he and his wife own, and his decision to expand his beachfront property.


Source: Sandicor MLS. Presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney plans to knockdown his beachfront home in La, Jolla, California to build an about 11,000-square-foot structure.

In 2008, the Romneys purchased a $12 million oceanfront home in La Jolla, California. Built in 1980, the one-story home located in the Beach-Barber Tract neighborhood has three bedrooms and three full baths. It features, among other things, direct access to the beach, an oceanfront deck, and an underground lap pool. In total, the Spanish-style home, designed by architectural firm Lorrimer-Case, sits on an about 18,300-square-foot lot at the end of a cul-de-sac.


Source: Sandicor MLS. A lap pool and spa in Mitt Romney’s La Jolla residence.


Dane Soderberg, vice president broker associate at P.S. Platinum, a local real estate firm, described the area as a cosmopolitan beach community.

“It’s a Maserati dealership next to the surf shop type of thing,” Soderberg said.

More specifically, Soderberg described the Beach-Barber Tract neighborhood as a mostly residential area, opposed to a space for second or third homes.

“It’s kind of where the people of La Jolla live,” he said. “It’s not exactly a tourist area.”

The neighborhood sits next to Windansea Beach, which has a long history associated with surf culture.

Last August, Romney submitted plans to tear down the home and build a new structure that quadruples the size of the original home. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Romney wants to replace his 3,009-square-foot beachfront house and with an 11,062-square-foot structure.

Official word from Romney’s campaign, as reported by Politico, is the expansion is to enlarge the home to make it more accessible for the former Massachusetts’ governor’s five children and 16 grandchildren.  Construction isn’t expected to begin until after the campaign season wraps and permits have been approved.

But what exactly does an 11,062-square-foot home look like to the average homeowner? According to the 2009 American Housing Survey, the medium floor area of existing U.S. homes was 1,700-square-feet.  Perhaps more telling, 2010 Census data shows that the average size of a new single-family home in the U.S. was 2,169-square-feet, up from 2,135-square-feet for homes built in 2009.

This means that about 6.5 average-sized American homes would fit inside Romney’s proposed beach house.  What about new single-family homes built in 2010? The number hovers at about 5.1 average-sized single-family homes.

Soderberg, who’s sold homes in the area, said an expansion of this magnitude isn’t uncommon.

“What he’s doing is not abnormal for people in La Jolla who buy a home in that price point,” he said. “No one here is talking about it here as if it’s a big deal.”

Editors’ Note:  Movoto would like to thank Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders, for pointing us toward the appropriate housing data.

Facebook Facebook Like

posted on: April 18, 2012
161 views, 13 comments


  1. Debe M.

    MOST Realtors® are conservative and most have had it with the current administration. Don’t forget we’re all small business owners so, we’re into fiscal conservatism–whether we’re moderates or republicans, we lean to the right when it comes to business.

    Hopefully Romney will teach all Americans how to be successful in business so that we can all own and sell homes like his! The current president has certainly failed to do so. Many are also counting on Romney running this country like a business and getting us out of this horrible mess that we’re in.

    I certainly won’t be voting for Obama again; I only need to be fooled once.

  2. Mike G.

    So your site is in the business of making money selling real estate and you want to have a slant that paints Mitt’s expansion of his home as what…..wrong? Or what ….that the tool you are creating will make people say Mitt’s home is larger than the person who uses your tool?

    You have to be kiding me! You sell real estate and you want to take that angle? Maybe you should just come up with a sq.ft number that’s acceptable for all homes not to exceed! Maybe my next post will be about how large some of your homes are compared to the avg. American.

    Why not take a better look at how many jobs he will create hiring contractors? How about his home helping lift the values of all the neigboring homes?

  3. Greg S.

    You are attempting to attract business by appealing to the worst in people. You meet the worst people that way.

  4. Nicole T.

    What makes America great is the freedom to be successful if you have drive and initiative! Mitt Romney is a successful business man and hopefully will be an awesome President if elected. Anyone in America should have the right to a luxurious home if they work hard to earn it and can afford it. This is why so many immigrants find it a honor to become an american citizen and live in this great country. Me being one.

  5. Larry R.

    It’s an interesting piece. I suspect the Romney attack angle will play well in the Bay area.

  6. Vickie C.

    It’s interesting but I’m not a big Mitt Romney backer or detractor. Now, if it was Ron Paul, I might be a wee bit more interested although I’m more focused on issues than where these people live. That’s just me.

  7. Linda

    Should Mittens win, tax payers will have to foot the security for ALL of his houses, stables,boathouses……now that is fiscal conservitism on our dime. This is after all the loopholes, offshore accounts and a lower tax rate Mittens has fiddled for himself.

  8. Kevin

    Debe, perhaps you could just deal with facts about the current administration rather than platitudes about where you lean. The current President inherited an economy headed down the drain toward a second great depression and has seen things begin to turn around. With Willards “experience” will we see him increase debt then try to sell off the assets? We are in the she we are in because of the circumstances Obama inherited people can’t pay taxes when they don’t have a job and the only entity with money to spend was the government thereby preventing a horrible situation from being even worse. How a serial candidate with no understanding of how the average or even slightly above average person lives is beyond me. I wonder how you can put your faith in a person who doesn’t even know what positions he holds from day to day.

  9. buzz

    Nice house. I don’t think it’s possible for Americans, in a broad way, to aspire for success. If you look at the statistics, since the 1970s, the gap between rich and poor has been widening. The only offset has been the introduction of the dual income household and the expansion of debt. So, yeah, some people can buy a bigger house than their parents, but they have to borrow much more to do it. And, as we have seen, the value of those properties has largely been inflated by broad corruption in the mortgage market.

    You’d think that realtors, of all people, would have a little more humility about knocking Obama over the economy that they helped destroy. I mean, I can see that you want a return to the Bush bubble years, it was a plush time for realtors…. but come on! People’s lives were ruined.

    “The Freedom to be successful” or having “drive” or “initiative” has NOTHING to do with exagerrating the value of houses so that middle class families need to take out bigger loans and pay you bigger commissions and pay more to the banks! At least a welfare cheat KNOWS they aren’t working for their money…. people who get rich by scamming working people, on the other hand, spin outlandish tales about how hard they worked for their money. You want hard work, try clearing brush for a living, try building a house. The people that do that work sleep on the hillsides just outside of La Jolla in makeshift houses.

  10. dcross

    @Linda. You make an interesting point. How does the secret service deal with a president who has multiple home? My guess is that the agents are placed at each residence. There might be a blog post in there somewhere.


Leave a Reply