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Home sizes shrink, buyers lean toward single story homes

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.

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Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Eric Hempler

    June 14, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    This is similar to what my wife and I have always wanted. For us we don’t see a need to have a Living Room and a Family Room. One of the rooms doesn’t really get used, which seems like a waste of space. We’re also not interested in a Formal Dinning Room. We’re pretty basic for the main part of the house. Living Room, Informal Eating Area and Kitchen with Bedrooms of course. Although, I would like to have a seperate room for an office.

  2. Miami Condo Shop

    June 15, 2010 at 7:30 am

    The explanation provided by David Crowe is right on the money. These days homeowners have to be practical. Comfortable living does not rely heavily on how big your crib is. For as long as you can move around with relative ease and every space in the house is optimized, then that would be just fine…

  3. ElizabethL

    June 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I think people are becoming more cautious of what they spend – and in turn, builders are adapting.

  4. Erica Ramus

    June 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I am working with a builder now and we are debating whether or not to remove the formal dining room from the house plan, to add a 4th bedroom, which will be downstairs on the 1st floor with its own bathroom.

    Many people WANT a dining room to put their big table in, but how many times do you use it? How many times do you go into someone’s house and the dining room table is filled with junk because nobody sits there.

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