Information obtained from the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) and tabulated by NAHB, shows that the share of two or more stories homes started is greater than one story homes in 2018, but the two-story share decreased compared to 2017. The greatest concentration of two or more story homes was in divisions along the coasts of the country.
Nationwide, the share of new homes with two or more stories fell from 55% in 2017 to 53% in 2018, while the share of new homes with one story grew from 45% to 47%. The growth was largely concentrated in the South region, where the shares of two or more stories homes climbed 9%, 7% and 7% in the South Atlantic, East South Central and West South Central, respectively. The West North Central is the only division for which the share of single story homes declined from 2017 to 2018.
Preferences for home height varies across generations. A recent NAHB survey reveals that preference of single-story homes rises with age – 80% of baby boomers prefer one story homes due to aging-in-place concerns, while only 35% of Millennials want single-story homes.
Looking deeper, four of the nine divisions show a greater share of newly-built two or more stories homes. Among these four divisions, New England had a significantly higher proportion (84%) of two or more stories homes. New home started with two or more stories in the Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic and Pacific were 76%, 56% and 64%.
On the other hand, new homes started in the Midwest and South show a stronger preference of single story homes, except for South Atlantic division in the South. In the Midwest (East North Central and West North Central), 57% of new homes started were one story, while the shares in the East South Central and West South Central were 55% and 60%. The Mountain is the only division with equal share of one and two or more stories new homes started in 2018.
Homes with one story are more common in non-metro areas, while two or more stories homes are common in metro areas. However, we experienced an increase of share of one story homes in both metro and non-metro areas from 2017 to 2018.