The housing market is improving slowly and steadily, and many areas in the United States are witnessing home price improvements. However, the market is still a long way from prosperity and house hunters might consider a smaller home, according to CNN Money.

Forecasts note that home prices and mortgage rates will likely remain low. Homes near retail areas may be more affordable, and consumers are becoming less interested in "McMansions," larger homes with high maintenance and energy costs that may make them a poor long-term investment.

"Baby boomers are trading down," Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist, told the source. "They don't need the McMansion, and they don't want to drive as much."

Consumers who are looking for an affordable home but are nearing retirement may want to ensure that taking out a new mortgage won't hurt their long-term plan. If unsure, it could be best to talk to a retirement expert.