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Builders say size of new homes trending lower

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Single-family homes being built this year are the smallest since the end of 2010, according to a report from the National Association of Home Builders.

NAHB analyzed second quarter 2023 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design. Their research found the median single-family square floor area declined to 2,191 square feet. That was the smallest since the end of 2010. Average (mean) square footage fell to 2,415 square feet.

During the pandemic, as people used homes for work and other purposes, demand for residential space increased. Historic low interest rates also contributed to the demand for larger homes.

As interest rates rose and housing affordability worsened, the trend fueling more square footage reversed.

Using a one-year moving average, NAHB reported since Great Recession lows, the average size of a new single-family home is now 3% higher at 2,465 square feet. The median size is 2,234 square feet, about 6% higher.

NAHB research dating to 2009 found home size rose from 2009 to 2015 as entry level new construction lost market share.  Between 2016 and 2020 home size declined as more starter home were developed. Builders expect the current downward trend will likely continue as housing affordability remains constrained.

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