Of the roughly 780,000 single-family homes started in 2016, 65.1 percent included porches, according to NAHB tabulation of data from the Survey of Construction (SOC). The SOC is conducted on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Census Bureau with partial funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Among other things, the SOC shows that, over the period when single-family starts were declining (from 1.7 million in 2005 to 430,000 in 2011), the share of new homes built with porches was increasing (from 54.1 percent in 2005 to 65.7 percent in 2011).
Since the trough of 2011, single-family starts have increased every year, but still remain well below historical averages. During most of that span, the share of new homes with porches remained relatively stable, hovering in a narrow band between 63 and 64 percent. In 2016, the single-family porch share moved back above 65 percent for only the second time.
SOC data can also be tabulated separately for each of the nine Census divisions. In 2016, the share of new homes with porches ranged from a low of 52 percent in the Mid-Atlantic Division to a high of over 85 percent in the four states that make up the East South Central.
While the SOC shows how many new homes come with porches, it doesn’t provide much information about the nature of the porches. For that, we can turn to the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs. The latest BPS shows that front porches on new homes are far more common than side porches, and that most new home porches are open rather than screened in.
The BPS also shows that the average size of a front porch on a new home is roughly 60 square feet. Nationally, measured by square footage, the materials used most often to build new home porches are concrete and treated wood (species like southern yellow pine that would not withstand outdoor use unless treated with preservative chemicals), but there are some differences across Census Divisions. In the Mountain and Pacific divisions, redwood (a species that doesn’t need to be treated) tends to be used more than treated wood. In the Pacific, however, cedar is used even more often than redwood. In New England, concrete is used less; PVC, other plastic materials and composite (a combination of plastic and wood fibers) more. The use of composite materials in new home porches is also a relatively common practice in the Mid Atlantic.