Share of New Homes with Patios Edges Up Again


Of the roughly 876,000 single-family homes started in 2018, 59.4 percent came with patios, 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 the highest the number has been since NAHB began tracking the series in 2005.  The incidence of patios on new homes increased in each of past nine years with exception of 2015, when it was flat.

From the start of the downturn in 2007 through 2011, the share of new homes with patios was consistently under 50 percent—as low as 44.8 percent in the trough of 2009.  In 2012, the share jumped to 52.4 percent and has been consistently climbing ever sense, finally breaking above 59 percent in 2017.

As usual, there were very large differences in the share of new homes with patios across the nine Census divisions in 2018.  At the low end, 21 percent of new single-family homes built in the Middle Atlantic and 22 percent in New England came with patios.  At the high end, the incidence of patios on new homes was 77 percent in the West South Central and also over 65 percent in both the Mountain and Pacific divisions.

To some extent, patios and decks seem to be substitutes for each other, as patios on new homes tend to be more common homes where decks are relatively uncommon.  The extreme case is the West South Central where 77 percent of new homes had patios in 2018 where, as a previous post has shown, only 4 percent had decks.  Across the nine divisions, the correlation between the percentages of decks and patios was -.86.

The SOC data tell us how many new homes have patios but don’t provide detail about the nature of the patios.  Some of this detail, however, is available from the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs.  Unlike the SOC, the BPS explicitly includes pool decks with patios.

For the U.S. as a whole, the 2019 BPS report (based on data from 2018) shows that the average size of a patio on a new single-family home is a little over 260 square feet.  However, new-home patios averaged over 300 square feet in New England and the East North Central, and over 400 square feet in the Pacific Division.  On a square foot basis, the material builders use most often for patios, and by a wide margin, is poured concrete, followed by natural stone, brick pavers and concrete pavers.  Across the divisions, the major exception to this general rule is New England, where natural stone is the most common material in new home patios, and concrete pavers are slightly more common than poured concrete.

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