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Bigger Houses, Smaller Lots

Wed Jun 29 2016
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The housing crisis of the last decade has not slowed the steady trend towards bigger houses with more bathrooms and multicar garages but these more spacious new homes are now on smaller lots.

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The U.S. Census Bureau collects data on characteristics of new housing for the Department of Housing and Urban Development using the Survey of Construction. Annual data from the survey show that the proportion of single-family homes completed in 2015 with four or more bedrooms and three or more bathrooms has been on the rise since 1987. The share of new homes that are 3,000 square feet or more has been increasing since 1999. The same upward pattern applies to homes that are even larger — 4,000 square feet or more.

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The survey shows that the median size of the 648,000 single-family homes completed in 2015 was 2,467 square feet. Of those new homes, 47 percent had four or more bedrooms compared to 35 percent five years earlier and 38 percent had three or more bathrooms compared to 25 percent.

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Despite the trend towards living large, homes are going up on smaller lots. The share of homes completed on lots under 7,000 square feet has been growing since 1999. The vast majority of homes are built inside metropolitan areas.

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Check out this interactive graphic on new single-family homes in 2015.

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