Downsizing the American home

Renters no more: This winter the Murkeys bought a 4-bedroom Las Vegas house at $213,000. More than $80,000 less than the KB model cost 18 months before.

By Shawn Tully, editor at large

During the bubble, KB Home, like many other big builders, blew up its old-line business by going ritzy and building expensive houses. Now KB is among the first homebuilders to recognize the error of its ways, and it is returning to its roots as a purveyor of low-cost, smaller homes. In some cases KB is even using the same façades from the go-go years and then shrinking the house that lurks behind them to be half as deep – and about half as expensive. “If I had to write a headline for housing, it would be back to basics,” says Broad. “The right thing to do is just what KB is doing: build starter homes that compete with rentals.”


has been writing computer programs since 1970, and is still debugging them. The first modem he used was as big as a washing machine but not nearly as useful.