According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), the percentage of new single-family homes with four or more bedrooms increased in 2020, unlike in prior recent years. NAHB Eye On Housing’s Litic Murali says the share of single-family homes started with four bedrooms or more increased from 42.6% in 2019 to 45.2% in 2020. The three-point percentage increase is likely due to the economic effects of the pandemic, as many of last year’s home shoppers were generally looking for more space.

Examination of housing finance data in the previous year, i.e., the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Application Surveys in 2020, shows increases in the average loan size of all purchase mortgages despite low housing inventory, another sign that the market was challenging for prospective first-time homebuyers. The 2020 SOC reduced share of new homes started with 2 bedrooms or less (9.7 percent vs 10.5 percent the previous year) corroborates the lowered presence of first-time homebuyers in the new home market that year.

Apart from the East North Central Census Division, the (linked) chart shows no variation by geography in changes of the shares of new homes started in 2020 with 4 or more bedrooms. While the East North Central Census Division experienced a decline in this share from 2019 by 2.6 percent to 29.8 percent, the other divisions show only increases in the shares.

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