Share of New Homes with Decks Drops Below 20 Percent


Of the roughly 990,000 single-family homes started in 2020, only 19.3 percent included 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 marks the third year in a row the share of new homes with decks has declined, and the first time the share has dipped below 20 percent since the 2005 re-design of the SOC.

In comparison, from 2005 through 2008 over 25 percent of new single-family homes included decks—27 percent in 2007 and 2008.

SOC data allow the share of homes with decks to be calculated for each of the nine Census divisions.  As usual, the share varied substantially by division among the new homes started in 2020.  At the high end, two-thirds of single-family homes in New England were built with decks, followed at a distance by 49 percent in the West North Central and roughly 40 percent in the Mid Atlantic and East South Central divisions.  At the other end of the spectrum, much as in prior years, only 4 percent of homes started in the West South Central Division included decks.

The SOC data provide information about the number of new homes with decks, but not much detail beyond that.  Considerable information about the type of decks on new homes, however, is available from the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs.

For the U.S. as a whole, the 2021 BPS report (based on homes built in 2020) shows that the average size of a deck on a new single-family home is about 265 square feet.  Across Census divisions, the average deck size ranges from a low of under 215 square feet in the West North Central to over 365 square feet in the East South Central.

The latest BPS also shows pressure treated wood and composite (a mixture of usually recycled wood fibers and plastic) running neck and neck in the race to become the most used material in new home decks.  The major exception to this occurs in the East South Central Census division, where cedar (a species that withstands outdoor use without special pressure treatment) predominates.

While the share of new homes with decks has fallen to a record low of 19.3 percent, the shares with other outdoor amenities such as porches and patios have risen to record or near-record highs of 65.3 and 61.4 percent, respectively.  Decks and patios in particular seem to function as substitutes for each other.  Across the nine Census divisions, the correlation between the percentages homes built with decks and patios in 2020 is -.85.

It is also important to remember that decks can be added to homes some time after they are built.  In a survey conducted at the end of 2020 for the NAHB/Royal Building Products Remodeling Market Index (RMI), decks were tied with window and door replacements for the fourth most common type of project reported by professional remodelers.  Moreover, in an RMI survey conducted earlier that year, 53 percent of remodelers said they had observed an increase in demand for decks specifically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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