Share of New Homes with Patios Continues to Edge Up


Of the roughly 879,000 single-family homes started in 2019, 59.6 percent included 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).  Once again, this set a new record high (NAHB began tracking the series in 2005), and once again the record was set by a narrow margin.  The 2019 number was only 0.2 percentage points higher than the 59.4 percent tabulated for 2018.

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 since.  The incidence of patios on new homes has now increased in each of past ten years, except for 2015 when it was flat.

The geographic incidence of new home patios closely resembled the pattern shown in last year’s post.  At the low end, only 23 percent of new single-family homes built in the Middle Atlantic and 27 percent in New England came with patios.  At the high end, the incidence of patios on new homes was 75 percent of new homes in the West South Central and over 60 percent in South Atlantic, Mountain and Pacific divisions.

To some extent, patios and decks seem to function as substitutes for each other.  Patios on new homes tend to be more common on new homes in divisions where decks are relatively uncommon, and vice versa.  The extreme case is the West South Central where, as noted above, 75 percent of homes started in 2019 had patios while, as a previous post has shown, only 4 percent had decks.  Across all nine divisions, the correlation between the percentages of decks and patios was -.88.

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 2020 BPS report (based on data from 2019) shows that the average size of a patio on a new single-family home is a little over 250 square feet.  However, new-home patios averaged well over 300 square feet in New England and East North Central divisions, and under 200 square feet in the East South Central.  On a square foot basis, the material builders use the most often for patios, and by a wide margin, is poured concrete, followed by concrete pavers, natural stone, and brick pavers.

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, 40 percent of remodelers said they had observed an increase in demand for patios specifically as a result of COVID-19.


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