Home sizes are expanding across the country as construction tips toward the high-end market, says Wall Street Journal reporter Laura Kusisto. The average home size increased from 2,660 square feet in 2014 to 2,720 square feet in 2015 according to data from the National Association of Home Builders, with almost half of homes started last year consisting of four or more bedrooms.
With increasing home sizes comes increased prices. The average price of new homes for sale in 2015 rose to $351,000, up $100,000 from 2009—around the time that the average new-home size bottomed during the 2008 financial crisis at about 2,360 square feet.
But building bigger may be keeping younger home buyers from entering the market. Some builders haven't been enticing entry-level buyers with starter homes because of land prices, construction costs and lack of available mortgages for less-affluent buyers, so they build larger homes for the more well-off set.
Those potential buyers, who may also be younger, help bring down the average size of new homes because they tend to live in smaller spaces than their older counterparts. The share of first-time buyers of U.S. homes fell to 32% of all purchasers in 2015 from 33% the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors, its lowest level in three decades.
A major topic of conversation at this year’s International Builders’ Show was how to entice younger buyers to begin purchasing homes again. Ideas ranged from more communal amenities, such as pools and clubhouses, to mimicking high-end rentals to smaller homes with more outdoor space that tend to be cheaper.