The recently released 2013 American Housing Survey is a treasure trove of homeowner and renter data, but there are four gems in particular that speak to the future of housing needs and preferences across the single-family, remodeling, and multifamily sects of the housing market. 


The 60's called, and they want their interiors back. The majority of owner-occupied housing was constructed between 1950 and 1979, which has big implications for the remodeling industry in coming years. The largest portion of owner-occupied respondents (8,608) live in structures built between 1960 and 1969, while a meager 1,545 owner-occupied structures were built between 2010 and 2014. Respondents living in wallpaper clad, linoleum-floored homes will likely need to upgrade kitchens and baths for efficiency, or will want to bring their home surfaces up to style (perhaps in the interest of resale down the road). 


Home size has increased in the US since World War II. Although some builders are reverting to building more manageable homes and fewer McMansions, median square footage is still generally higher for newer homes. According to the latest 2013 American Housing Survey data, homes built in the last four years are a median 1,894 square feet, more than 300 square feet larger than the median square footage for all existing homes at 1,500 square feet. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the median size for homeowners in significantly larger than for renters with a stark contrast of 1,800 square feet for owners and 971 square feet for renters. The majority of both renters and homeowners live in a house between 1,000 and 2,500 square feet. The highest concentration is in the 1,000 to 1,500 square foot range with more than 30 million homes. As of the 2013 data, the median size for homes for sale is 1,585 square feet, slightly larger than the occupied home. Finally, the highest rental vacancy rate is reported for homes 500 to 749 square feet at 9.2 percent, indicating while some demographics such as boomers are downsizing, we all still love our space. 


How much income is the average buyer willing to pay for monthly housing costs? According to the 2013 American Housing Survey data, homeowners spend a median 19 percent. More than 12 million homeowners across the country spend 10 to 14 percent of their income on monthly housing costs and nearly two million homeowners strikingly spend between 70 and 99 percent of their income on housing costs. For owner-occupied units built in the last four years approximately 324,000 spend between 15 and 19 percent of income on housing costs. The majority of homeowners in recently built homes spend somewhere between five and 25 percent of their income on housing costs, but a whopping 34,000 still reportedly spend between 70 and 99 percent of their income on monthly household costs. Homeowners overall spend more of their income on their housing costs in the Northeast and West with a median 21 percent, three percent higher than the Midwest and South.