June 19, 2006
By David Pressly
NAHB President and
Jerry Howard
NAHB Executive VP and CEO
Subscribe to NAHB e-Newsletters
E-mail Our Editor
NAHB Home Page
. Browse Other NAHB e-Newsletters
. Manage Your Subscription
. Browse NAHB Books and Periodicals
. Search Back Issues
. Plain Text Version
Printer Friendly

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).

Fannie and Freddie are feeling the heat
as the Bush Administration and Senate step up their efforts to force the housing GSEs to limit the growth of their business and portfolio holdings. In the past week, both the Treasury Department and HUD have announced they will launch investigations into the feasibility of taking administrative action on this matter through existing laws and regulatory enforcement procedures. Meanwhile, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby held a panel hearing on June 15 that included testimony from Fannie Mae Chairman Stephen Ashley and President and CEO Daniel Mudd, among others. Shelby used the hearing to generate momentum for Senate bill S. 190, which has been stalled since narrowly passing his committee last summer. NAHB opposes S. 190 on the grounds that it would force the two housing finance entities to engage in a massive sell-off or run-down of existing holdings that would disrupt the mortgage markets and harm the housing finance system. NAHB supports the House bill on GSE oversight reform, called H.R. 1461. Stay tuned to this report and NBN Online for more news on the GSE debate, or contact Scott Meyer (x8144). [return to top]

EPA's new voluntary water conservation program,
called WaterSense and modeled after the popular ENERGY STAR® program, was announced by agency Administrator Stephen Johnson at a conference of the American Water Works Association on June 13. Aimed at building a national brand for technologies and practices that conserve water in homes, the program's guidelines should help "green" home builders in their marketing and sales efforts while boosting consumer awareness. In a press release last week, NAHB applauded WaterSense as another way to help home builders who want to take advantage of the rapidly expanding green building niche and offer consumers a variety of choices for environmentally friendly and efficient home design. Contact Calli Schmidt (x8132) for more info. [return to top]

Home Builders Blitz week started with a bang
on June 5 as NAHB President David Pressly joined Habitat for Humanity representatives, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, professional builder volunteers and new partner families in Charlotte, NC to construct one of an estimated 400 homes set for completion in the course of Habitat's biggest one-week building event in history. Taking place with the help of NAHB members in 130 locations nationwide, the blitz, held June 5-9, was aimed at providing new homes for more than 1,000 deserving people over a very short time. The event was a great success all around, and lots of fun for all involved. A hearty congratulations and thanks goes out to the hundreds of NAHB pros who lent a hand this past week to prove without a shadow of a doubt that indeed, Home Builders Care. Contact Deb Malone (x8256) in the NAHB Executive Office or Duane Bates at Habitat for Humanity (229-938-1917) for more info. [return to top]

The deadline is approaching for resolutions
and recommendations to be considered at NAHB's Fall Board of Directors Meeting in Salt Lake City this September. All such resolutions should be submitted to NAHB on or before August 17 as required by the NAHB bylaws, in order to allow for the fullest possible discussion of policy proposals at the grassroots level and facilitate directors' participation during the Board meeting. Resolutions/recommendations submitted after August 17 will still be considered, but will require a two-thirds vote for passage by the Board rather than a simple majority. A memo to this effect was recently sent by Resolutions Committee Chair Marsha Elliott to all NAHB Directors, Executive Board members and HBA Executive Officers. Please address any questions and send your proposed resolutions to: Jay Shackford (800-368-5242, x8406, FAX 202-266-8131). [return to top]

Discounted registration for the 2007 IBS is now available
online for earlybirds who want to take advantage of $75 off the onsite registration price. Sign up by October 27 and the discount is yours! Orlando will once again be the host city to this amazing event, scheduled for Feb. 7-10 at the Orange County Convention Center. We're hoping for another year of record-breaking attendance following last year's incredible turnout of more than 100,000. The International Builders' Show is by far the biggest and most important trade show for professionals in the residential and light commercial construction trades all year, and hotels book up fast. Register today and help us make history while enjoying your well-deserved price break.  [return to top]

To unsubscribe, change your e-mail address, or manage your subscription, CLICK HERE