Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Size of New Homes Shrinking

The US Census Bureau has released figures which show the size of single family homes has declined from last year, to a national average of 2,438 SF.  The size peaked in 2007 at 2,521 SF, after rising for almost 3 decades.  Also, new homes in 2009 had fewer bedrooms.  This number topped in 2005 at 4 bedrooms in 39% of new homes, and dropped to an average of 34% last year.  Those with 3 bedrooms rose from 49% to 53% in the same timeframe.

"We also saw a decline in the size of new homes when the economy lapsed into recession in the early 1980s," said NAHB 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."

Single-story homes are also increasing again.  In 1973, the first year for which the Census Bureau reported characteristics of single-family homes completed, 67% had only one story, 23% had two or more stories, and 10% were split levels.  Those number also peaked in 2006, when 57% of new homes had 2 or more stories.  Since then, single-family homes with one-story have increased to 47% last year, while the share with two or more stories dropped to 53%.

Regional Differences - how New Jersey New Homes Compare
(as reported by

"In 1973, less than half of all new single-family homes completed had air conditioning; in 2009, 88% were air conditioned nationwide. Regionally, the proportion ranged from a low of 69% in the West to a high of 99% in the South. The Northeast and Midwest were at 75% and 90%, respectively.

"Nationwide, 62% of new single-family homes completed in 2009 had two-car garages, and 17% had garages for three or more cars. However, there were clear regional differences. Three-car garages were found in only about 11% of homes in the Northeast and the South. In the Midwest, 30% of all homes had three-car garages, and in the West, 26%.

"Regional differences were especially pronounced in the selection of exterior wall material. Nationwide, 34% of all single-family homes completed in 2009 homes had vinyl siding, 23% were brick, 19% were stucco, and 13% had fiber cement siding.

Vinyl siding predominates in the Northeast, where it accounted for 74% of the market; wood was a distant second with a 12% market share. In the Midwest, vinyl siding accounted for 62% of the market while wood and brick were at 15% and 11%, respectively.

"Brick was the leader in the South, where it was found in 40% of new single-family homes. 28% of new homes in the South had vinyl siding and 13% had stucco."

Interested in what New Jersey builders use and why?  Contact me and let's talk about what materials are best to use here in Mercer County, and take a look at some sizes and floor plans.  I've been in the building industry here in New Jersey for more than 20 years, so can answer your questions.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

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