Recently, we determined the nation’s hottest big-home markets by cross-referencing Metrostudy data with an analysis from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). This week, we're heading in the opposite direction, highlighting the most popular markets for smaller homes within nine regions across the country.
An increasing number of home buyers are choosing smaller homes, for several reasons: They have smaller price tags, can be more energy-efficient, and cut out unnecessary spaces. But in which markets do small homes rule the roost?
To offer a glimpse into the landscape of smaller-home markets, we’ve mashed up 2015 home closing data from Metrostudy with the NAHB report. Our methodology is to pick five markets in each region—at the MSA level— where homes have a median living square footage of 1,500 square feet or below, ranked from smallest to largest. Spoiler alert: less than five markets in the Mid Atlantic—the largest big-home region, according to NAHB— and New England have a median of 1,500 square feet or less, resulting in only 39 markets in our ranking.
This interactive map highlights where builders should target the smaller-home consumer:
Multiple markets in the East South Central and Mountain regions have a median new home size falling below 1,000 square feet. New homes in Hailey, Idaho have the smallest footprint, with a median of 500 square feet. Muskegon, Mich., followed by Ocala, Fla., have the second- and third-smallest median home sizes, at 833 and 850 square feet, respectively.
Eight markets in the West South Central, West North Central, East South Central, Pacific, and New England regions share a median home size of 1,500 square feet. Keene, N.H., is the only market in New England with such a median home size. In the Mid Atlantic region, where large homes abound, only three markets—New Castle, Pa., Jamestown-Dunkirk-Fredonia, N.Y., and Gettysburg, Pa.—made our list of smaller-home markets.
Not many builders are honing in on smaller homes exclusively. Although D.R. Horton's Express Line has been a success for new home buyers with smaller budgets, Habitat For Humanity International (ranked 15th in our 2015 Builder 100 list) has dominated the smaller home market in 2015 thus far, with nearly 1,800 home closings and a median of 1,420 living square feet. The Related Group, a big player in the condo space (and ranked 20th in our Builder 100), has had 704 closings with a median size of 1,284 square feet.