No, the ‘Home Alone’ House Was Not a Typical Family Home in 1990

We’ve been in an affordability crisis for so long that people are getting so desperate for home ownership and nostalgic for what it used to mean that they’re ready to believe that the iconic McCallister home in the 1990 movie Home Alone is a median family home that sold for $250K.

Economist Jeremy Horpedahl unpacks this on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and reveals that the McCallister house was actually seven times more expensive than the median home in 1990.

Horpedahl shared that the Winnetka, Illinois home actually sold for $875,000 in 1989 when the typical middle-class family home cost $125,000. The sale price, he points out, was 26 times the median family income in 1989.

The size of the home alone should tell viewers that it’s a few bedrooms and bathrooms bigger than the typical family home of the time. The major plot details should also drive the point — e.g. big family, Christmas vacation for nine people in Europe.

Also, it was simply a big house, which is why it attracted the burglars in the first place. According to Groundworks, which made a website especially for the iconic house, the 4,243-square-foot two-story brick colonial was built in 1921 and it has six bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, an attic, and a full basement.

On why this particular house was chosen, Director Chris Columbus explained that it was important that the house fit the very specific physical humor of the story. 

“We needed to cast a house that would work for the stunts and also a house that was visually appealing and, if this makes sense, warm and menacing at the same time. It’s the kind of house if you were a kid, it would be fun to be left home alone,” Columbus told Entertainment Weekly.

Zillow estimates the current value to be $2.3 million, still more than five times more expensive than the average median family home in the US today.

Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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