Of the single-family homes started in 2019, 64.7 percent came with porches, according to NAHB tabulation of data from the Survey of Construction (SOC, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau with partial funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development).
Historically, the SOC shows the share of single-family homes with porches increasing regularly to a high of 65.7 percent in 2011 before dropping to under 64 percent from 2012 through 2015. Since then the share has been marginally higher and relatively stable, fluctuating only between 64.7 and 65.1 percent from 2016 through 2019.
Although not shown in that much geographic detail on the Census web site, the underlying SOC data can be tabulated for each of the country’s nine Census divisions. Traditionally, porches on new homes have been most common in the four states that make up the East South Central. That was once again true in 2019, when 92 percent of single-family homes started in the East South Central division had porches, followed by 75 percent in the Mountain and 70 percent in the Pacific divisions.
The SOC provides good information about the number of new single-family homes with porches, but not many details about the porches beyond that. However, there is that kind of detail in the Builder Practices Survey (BPS), conducted annually by Home Innovation Research Labs. Among other things, the latest BPS report (covering homes built in 2019) shows that porches continue to be most common on the front of new single-family homes, rather than on the side or rear. When they are present, however, the side and rear porches tend to be larger—about 142 square feet, on average, compared to roughly 95 square feet for front porches.
Although side and rear porches remain less common than front porches on new single-family homes, the incidence of side and rear porches has increased substantially over the past six years. The BPS shows side and rear porches on only 7 percent of single-family homes built in 2013, but the share has been well over 20 percent of single-family homes built in the last three years, reaching a peak of 26 percent in 2019.
On a square footage basis, builders use more concrete in new-home porches than any other building material. Treated wood is second (treated, because relatively few commonly used wood species are suitable for outdoor use unless pressure treated with preserving chemicals). The New England division is an outlier, however. Builders in New England use more composite (a combination of usually recycled wood fibers and plastic) than treated word or even concrete in the porches they build on their new homes.
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, 36 percent of remodelers said they had observed an increase in demand for porches specifically as a result of COVID-19.