Home Innovation’s recent 2019 Builder Practices Survey of more than 1,500 U.S. home builders confirms what the U.S. Census has been reporting—the average new-home size is declining. For the second time in a decade, the average home size paused its upward climb for at least a couple years of descent.
Driven primarily by demographics—i.e., the increasing share of younger people in the purchase of new homes—this decline in housing size results from a change in the housing mix. More starter homes are being constructed and purchased than move-up homes in recent years. Adding to this, the average starter, move-up, and luxury home sizes are also in decline, but only incrementally and only in some price-point categories. The accompanying graph shows a mild decline in average size over the past five years in builder-defined luxury and move-up homes, and a modest increase in the average size of a starter home.
The overall impact of home size decline is having some unexpected effects, according to Home Innovation. In general, it would be expected that housing market movement would favor lower-priced home features and materials across the board. This is confirmed in some of the following 2019 study results:
· Shares of single-story homes are up· Shares of crawlspace and slab foundations are up
· Shares of homes with gas appliances and heating equipment are down
· Total number of both rooms and closets down slightly
· Treated wood decking and exterior hand railing gained at the expense of cedar
· Radiant floor heating took a hit, particularly whole-house hydronic
· Vinyl siding and windows lost some ground while fiber cement siding and trim gained
· Brick gained some share
However, Home Innovation’s report also saw some new-home characteristics and materials favor traditionally higher-end materials as well:
· Two-car garages grew in popularity over one-car garages, and fewer homes did not have a garage· Average number of patio doors per home is up, but sliding doors gained over hinged
· Composite decking did not decline—it gained very slightly
· Interior light fixtures rose from 38 to 39 per home with the most growth being in the downlighting category
· More homes had ceiling fans
· Architectural asphalt roof shingles gained over 3-tab shingles
· Flooring continues to go more upscale—particularly hardwood and ceramic tile.
For more trends and analysis from this survey, visit homeinnovation.com.