Share of New Homes with Decks Declines Again

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Of the roughly 879,000 single-family homes started in 2019, 20.3 percent included decks, according to NAHB tabulation of data from the Survey of Construction (SOC, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and partially funded by HUD).  This is down over two percentage points from percentage points from the 22.6 percent recorded a year earlier, which in turn was down over one percentage point from the year before that.  It also stands in sharp contrast to the much higher 67.4 percent of new homes built with another exterior amenity in 2019—porches—as reported in Eye on Housing on October 15.

Historically, between 2005 and 2008, the share of new homes with decks was consistently over 25 percent—reaching as high as 27 percent in 2007 and 2008.  In 2009, the share dropped to under 25 percent where it has remained ever since, trending further downward more recently.  The 2019 figure of 20.3 percent is the lowest the share of new single-family homes with decks has been since the 2005 redesign of the SOC.

SOC data allow the share of homes with decks to be calculated for each of the nine Census divisions.  As usual, the share varied substantially by division for the homes started in 2019.  At the high end, 63 percent of single-family homes in New England were built with decks, followed at a distance be a little over 40 percent for new single-family homes in the West North Central and East South Central divisions.  At the other end of the spectrum, much as in prior years, only 4 percent of homes started in the West South Central Division were built with decks.

The SOC data provide information about the number of new homes with decks, but not much detail beyond that.  Information about the type of decks built is available from the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs.

For the U.S. as a whole, the 2020 BPS report (based on homes built in 2019) shows that the average size of a deck on a new single-family home is about 270 square feet.  The size of new home decks varies only modestly across Census divisions.  The largest, about 300 square feet on average, are found in the Pacific division.

The latest BPS report also shows that composite (a mixture of usually recycled wood fibers and plastic) has, by a narrow margin, supplanted treated wood as the material builders use most often in their decks.  Treated wood remains number one in four of the five divisions east of the Mississippi River, however: the Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic, East North Central, and East South Central. Composite accounts for a particularly large share of the new home deck market in the Mountain and Pacific divisions.

It is important to remember that the above discussion pertains to homes built in 2019, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Evidence from NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) suggests that the pandemic and resulting tendency to spend more time at home has increased the demand for outdoor amenities such as patios, decks and porches.  In the RMI survey conducted at the end of the second quarter, 53 percent of remodelers said they had observed an increase in demand for decks specifically in response to COVID-19.



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