Share of New Homes with Decks Under 18% Again

As discussed in Eye on Housing last year, builders have been including decks on fewer and fewer new homes recently.  According to NAHB tabulation of data from the HUD/Census Bureau Survey of Construction (SOC), well over 20% of all single-family homes started had decks from 2005 through 2018—as many as 27% in 2007 and 2008.  After 2017, however, the share started to drop year-after-year, reaching a low of 17.5% in 2021.  In 2022, the share increased, but just barely, to 17.7%.

This happened while, as shown in an October post, the share of new single-family homes with patios was climbing to an all-time high of 63.3%.  In fact, the correlation over time between the percentages of new homes with decks and patios between 2005 and 2002 was -.82, suggesting that patios on new homes have been serving as a substitute for decks.

The tendency of patios to substitute for decks—i.e., patios being more common where decks are less common—is also evident at a single point in time across the nine Census divisions.  In 2022, the share of new homes with decks was at its lowest in the West South Central and South Atlantic divisions (4 and 13 percent, respectively), the same two divisions where the share of new homes with patios was at its highest (over 70 percent).  Across all divisions in 2022, the correlation between the percentages of new homes with decks and patios was -.76.

Nevertheless, decks remain relatively popular on new homes in several divisions.  At the top, 62% of new homes in New England came with decks in 2022, followed by 45% in the West North Central and 37% in the East South Central.

Moreover, NAHB surveys show that home buyers like decks nearly as much as they like patios.  In the 2021 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want, 75% of recent and prospective buyers rated decks essential or desirable—not too far below the 82% for patios.  NAHB will be releasing a new version of this study with more recent preference data at the 2024 IBS.

Beyond the SOC, detail on the characteristics of new home decks is available from the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs.

For the U.S. as a whole, the 2023 BPS report shows that the average size of a deck on a new single-family home built in 2022 was 309 square feet.  Across Census divisions, the average size ranged from a low of 221 square feet in the Mountain division to a high of 464 square feet in the Middle Atlantic and West South Central.  The BPS also shows a geographic split in the material builders prefer to use in new home decks.  In the New England, West North Central, South Atlantic and East South Central divisions, treated wood remains their top choice.  In the other five divisions, composite has moved ahead of treated wood—and usually by a wide margin.

Decks may also be added to a home after it has been built, of course, and this is one way in which decks seem to be outdoing patios.  In the survey for the NAHB/Westlake Royal Remodeling Market Index, 23% of professional remodelers cited decks as one of their most common projects in the third quarter of 2023, compared to 15% for patio additions.

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