National Association of Home Builders analysis of Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design indicates that median single-family square floor area jumped from 2,400 in the third quarter, to 2,446 square feet in the final quarter.
NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz notes that the normal size of a new single-family home has increased 13%, while the medium size has increased 17%. The normal size of a newly built single-family home was unchanged from the third and fourth quarter of 2015. While first time home buyers return to the market, regular home size is expected to be a lower trend.
The post-recession increase in single-family home size is consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions. Typical new home size falls prior to and during a recession as some homebuyers cut back, and then sizes rise as high-end homebuyers, who face fewer credit constraints, return to the housing market in relatively greater proportions. This pattern has been exacerbated in the last two years due to market weakness among first-time homebuyers.