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Census survey shows most new homes have 3 bedrooms, but lot size is shrinking

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Half the new single-family homes built in the Pacific division of the U.S. had 4 bedrooms, according to the Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Construction. This division, which includes Washington, Oregon, and California, ranks only behind the Middle Atlantic Census division (52.5%), the West South Central division (51.5%) and the South Atlantic division (50.1%) with 4-plus bedrooms.

The New England Census division had the lowest share (30.6%) of new single-family homes with at least 4 bedrooms.

Nationwide, 4 bedrooms accounted for 36% of new single-family homes. The largest share, with 44.5%, was 3 bedrooms. Homes with 5-plus bedrooms made up 10.3% of new homes in 2021, while those with 2 or fewer bedrooms comprised 9.2%.

Comparisons to 2020 show gains in homes with both 4 and 5+ bedrooms, while the share of new single-family homes with 3 or fewer bedrooms declined.

Not surprisingly, average prices have shown consistent increases. Nationwide, 30% of new single-family homes that sold in 2002 had prices under $149,999. In 2021, the figure was less than 0.5%.

In the West, about 16% of new home sales during 2002 had prices under $149,999, while Census figures for 2021 show 0% sold in that range.

Only about 4% of sales nationwide had prices of $500,000 or more in 2002, but the portion rose to 30% in 2021.

In the West, the portion of sales in the $500,000 and above segment accounted for 7% of sales in 2002, but it surged to more than half the sales (52%) in 2021.

The Survey of Construction also includes data on various characteristics of both completed and sold homes. Among the features in the data sets are air conditioning, lot size, outdoor features, square footage, fireplaces, and parking facilities.

The percentage of newly built sold homes with air-conditioning rose to 98%, up from both 2020 (96%) and 2000 (87%).

Outdoor features reflect mixed results.

The percentage of homes with a patio, porch, and deck has held steady at 4% when comparing 2021 with 2010. The portion with a patio only has increased from 18% in 2010 to 27% in 2021. Homes that sold with a deck only have had little fluctuations, topping at 6% in 2010 and declining slightly to 5% for most years thereafter, including 2021.

Homes with no patio, porch of deck accounted for 12% of sales in 2010, but only 8% of 2021’s sales.

A comparison of exterior wall materials shows wood was the most popular in 2001, with it being used on 26% of homes, followed by vinyl siding (24%). In 2021, stucco was the favored material, used on 31% of homes that sold. Brick proved to be the runner up at 24%.

Lot sizes have changed significantly going back to 1976. In that year, only 18% of lots measured 7,000 square feet or less, while 41% of single-family houses that sold were on lots of at least 11,000 square feet. For completed sales of new homes in 2021, 45% were on lots of 7,000 square feet or less. In 2021, only 22% of sales were on lots of at least 11,000 square feet:

Lot Size of New Single-Family Houses Sold Excluding Condominiums

(Components may not add to totals because of rounding. Percents computed from unrounded figures.)

Percent distribution


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