Top Posts of 2013: New Single-Family Home Size Rising


With the end of 2013 approaching, NAHB’s Eye on Housing would like to take a look at the updates that attracted the most readers over the last year.  In September, we explored the post-recession rise in single-family home size.


The size of a typical new single-family home rose in second quarter of 2013 continuing a post-recession trend. The recent increase in size is likely due to an atypical mix of buyers.

According to data from the Census the Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design survey, the average and median size of single-family homes started during the second quarter actually fell somewhat from the first quarter. The average single-family square footage fell from 2,689 to 2,647, while the median declined from 2,472 to 2,441.

SF size

However, on a less volatile one-year moving average, the size of new single-family homes continued their rising trend. Since cycle lows and on a moving average basis, the average size has increased almost 10% to 2,599, while the median size has increased more than 13% to 2,382.

As noted in NAHB’s analysis of 2012 Census construction data, the recent rise in single-family home sizes is consistent with the historical pattern coming out of recessions. Home sizes fall into the recession as some homebuyers cut back, and then sizes rise as high-end homebuyers, who face fewer credit constraints, return to the housing market in relatively greater proportions.

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