The Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Construction (SOC) shows changes in the number and shares of bathrooms and half-bathrooms of single-family homes started in the United States in 2019. The latest data show that 4% of new single-family homes started had one bathroom or less, 64% had 2 bathrooms, 25% had 3 bathrooms, and 8% had 4 bathrooms or more. The term “bathroom” as used in this post refers to a full bathroom.
The above figure shows that the shares of new single-family homes started with 1 bathroom or less or 2 bathrooms increased from 2018, but the shares of new single-family homes started with 3 bathrooms or 4 bathrooms or more decreased. Additionally, the share of new homes with 2 bathrooms has consistently exceeded the other bathrooms-per-unit categories.
The widespread decline in the share of single-family homes with 3 or more bathrooms per unit is correlated with the increasing median sale and contract price per square foot; as building costs increase, builders find it more prudent to install new single-family homes with fewer bathrooms, typically in the starter market for first-time homebuyers.
The correlation between more starter homes (for first-time home-buyers) constructed in a given year and fewer number of full bathrooms per unit is well established in recent and historical data. Starter homes are more likely to contain less space in terms of the square foot area of the house. In higher tiers of single-family home sizes, there exist greater shares of single-family homes with 3 bathrooms or 4 bathrooms or more. Conversely, in lower tiers of single-family home sizes, fewer bathrooms are prevalent. In 2019, 62% of all new single-family homes started that were less than 1,200 square feet had one or less bathrooms. In the next tier of single-family home size, those between 1,200 and 1,599 square feet, 90% of new homes started had 2 bathrooms. Finally, moving to the highest tier of home sizes, those with area square footage exceeding 5,000, 70% of new homes started had 4 or more full bathrooms.
As in previous years, the 2019 SOC data show variation in the number of bathrooms by Census division.
As seen in the above figure, the shares of new homes started in 2019 with 3 bathrooms or more was 32% of all new single-family homes started, a decline from 34% in 2018. On a more disaggregated level, the Pacific and Middle Atlantic Census divisions were the only regions to post gains in their shares of new homes started with 3 bathrooms or more from the prior year.