New-home characteristics have changed over the past 30 years
to reflect the evolving needs and expectations of home buyers as well as the improving techniques of home builders. Newly released data from the U.S. Census Department highlights these differences and provides a snapshot of changing aspects of home design since the mid-1970s.
NAHB analysis of the Census data reveals that, in general, homes today are far more spacious and better appointed than they were as of 1975. For example, the portion of new homes built with central AC has risen 43% overall, while 100% of new homes built in the South last year came with air conditioning. Also over the past 30 years, the share of newly built homes with four or more bedrooms has risen steadily from 21% to nearly 40% and the share of homes built with fewer than two bathrooms has fallen from 41% to just 4%. Meanwhile, the proportion of newly built homes with two or more stories has risen 32%, while the portion built with just one story has declined 21% and the use of "split level" designs has all but vanished, going from 12% of the new-homes market in 1975 to less than 1% in 2005. Such changes are reflected in the continued expansion of new-home size, which reached an all-time high last year at an average 2,434 square feet. That's up from an average 2,349 square feet in 2004 and just 1,645 square feet in 1975. The region with the largest average new-home size? The Northeast — at 2,556 square feet in 2005.
See our press release for a breakout of additional data pertaining to exterior wall materials, garages, heating systems, fireplaces, ceiling height, outdoor features and other aspects of new-home design, or download a table of the data from our Web site at www.nahb.org/constructionstats (click on "Selected Characteristics of New Housing"). Contact: Gopal Ahluwalia (x8480).