Pity the poor McMansion. Soon after these large homes started appearing in the 1980s, the word was born. Wikipedia (not an authoritative source) puts the origin of the word sometime in the late '80s, citing a mention of the word in the Los Angeles Times in 1990. It gained wider circulation in the 1990s and eventually became a household word, though perhaps not so much in the homes it was used to describe. The Apple dictionary defines the word as "a large modern house that is considered ostentatious and lacking in architectural integrity."

Considered by whom? So much for the Apple dictionary. Nonetheless, it appears this word has taken its toll, based at least on this dispatch from Bloomberg:

In the late 1990s, Americans started referring to tract-built luxury homes popping up in the suburbs as McMansions, a biting portmanteau implying that the structures were mass-produced and ugly. There was also the implied snark that their denizens, however wealthy, lacked the sophistication to tell filet mignon from a Big Mac.

Lately, these homes have been the subject of fresh scorn, thanks to an anonymously authored blog that breaks down the genre’s design flaws in excruciating detail. Posts lambasted builders for erecting garages bigger than the homes they’re attached to, dropping giant houses on tiny lots, plus shoddy construction and a mishmash of contrasting styles. (Gothic Tudor, anyone?)

It’s fun reading that nevertheless raised the question: How well have these homes kept their value? Not well, compared with the rest of the U.S. housing market.

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