Share of New Homes with Decks Edges Up


Of the roughly 780,000 single-family homes started in 2016, 23.7 percent came with 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 up slightly from 23.3 percent of single-family homes started in 2015.

From a slightly longer historic perspective, the share of new homes with decks was consistently over 25 percent from 2005 through 2008—as high as 27 percent in 2007 and 2008.  In 2009, the share dropped to under 25 percent and continued to decline, reaching a trough of 22.2 percent in 2012.  Since then, the share of new single-family homes with decks has been gradually edging upward.

There is also a clear geographic pattern to the incidence of decks on new homes (the SOC data can be tabulated separately for each of the nine Census divisions).  Perhaps counter-intuitively, the divisions where decks on new homes are most and least common lie adjacent to each other in the southern part of the country.  In 2016, the share of new homes with decks ranged from a low of only 4 percent in the four states that make up the West South Central Division to a high of 53 percent in the four states of the East South Central.

As shown in a previous post, the East South Central is also the division where porches on new homes are most common.

The SOC data tell us how many new homes have decks but not much about the nature of the decks.  Some detail on this topic is available from the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs.

For the U.S. as a whole, the 2017 BPS report (based on data from 2016) shows that the average size of a deck on a new single-family home is roughly 230 square feet, but the average ranges from about 170 square feet in the West South Central (so decks in this division are relatively small as well as being relatively uncommon) to over 275 square feet in the Mid Atlantic and East North Central. The most common materials builders use for decks are treated wood (many types of wood used in construction do not withstand outdoor use unless treated with preservative chemicals) and composite (a mixture of wood fibers and plastic).  Across the Census divisions, the greatest difference is in the Pacific, where cedar and redwood (types of wood that don’t need to be treated) tend to be used more often.

This post has dealt with decks on new homes.  Decks, of course, can be and often are added to a home after it is built.  In a post from earlier this year, 25 percent of NAHB remodelers reported that adding a deck to an existing home was a common project for them in 2016.

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