New home construction trends
American homes are decreasing in size as shown in a recent U.S. Census Bureau report revealing the average size of new single-family homes shrank to 2,438 square feet, nearly 100 square feet smaller than its peak in 2007. Home sizes have risen for decades, but given the current economy, even number of bedrooms and bathrooms in homes completed in 2009 dropped when compared to previous years.
“We also saw a decline in the size of new homes when the economy lapsed into recession in the early 1980s,” said the National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe. “The decline of the early 1980s turned out to be temporary, but this time the decline is related to phenomena such as an increased share of first-time home buyers, a desire to keep energy costs down, smaller amounts of equity in existing homes to roll into the next home, tighter credit standards and less focus on the investment component of buying a home. Many of these tendencies are likely to persist and continue affecting the new home market for an extended period.”
Crowe also pointed out that the average square footage of new single-family homes completed is only one measure of new home size. “The Census Bureau also reports average square footage in a quarterly release based on starts rather than completions, which is sometimes useful when market conditions are changing rapidly,” he said.
Although sizes differ between geographical regions, the national average is showing a return to the smaller, single story home scenario of the past. Why do you think home sizes are shrinking? Is it a return to a more economical tradition or is it a shift toward more urban living?
CC Licensed image courtesy of jstephenconn via Flickr.com.