With Rick Santorum out of the race, Mitt Romney is facing center stage, and like all candidates this is leaving him vulnerable to criticism. An article in Movoto points out the one thing the average American homeowner wants to know is whether or not the candidates can relate to them.
In 2008 this tripped up John McCain after he was asked how many homes he owned. Now Romney is coming under the spotlight, not only for the number of homes he and his wife currently own, but also over his decision to expand his beachfront house in La Jolla, California. The Romneys bought the home in 2008 for $12 million, and it's located in the Beach-Barber Tract neighborhood. The home has direct access to the beach, three bedrooms and three full bathrooms, as well as a deck overlooking the ocean and an underground lap pool. The area is described as being residential, and is right next to Windansea Beach, a favorite with surfers.
Romney is planning to replace the 3,009 square-foot beachfront home with an 11,062 foot house, roughly quadruple the size of the current structure, and submitted plans last August. According to Romney's campaign, the expansion would make the home more accessible for the Romney's five children and 16 grandchildren, but construction is unlikely to begin before the campaign season ends and permits are granted.
The 2009 American Housing Survey found the average existing US home was just 1,700 ft.², and census data for 2010 shows the average sized newly built single family home was 2,169 ft.² compared to 2,135 ft.² in 2009. Using these statistics, the Romney's new house could accommodate 6.5 average sized American homes, or 5.1 newly built single family homes.
Local real estate agents point out this kind of expansion really isn't that big a deal for anyone owning property worth that much in this area, but how many potential voters are in the same league?