Square Footage Shrinks in Response to First-Time Homebuyers

The average home built in 2016 was 2,634 square feet, smaller than homes built the year prior, per recent data by the U.S. Census Bureau. The downsize, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), is in response to first-time homebuyers.

“The data on new home characteristics show a pattern,” says Rose Quint, assistant vice president for Survey Research at the NAHB. “2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009 when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities. I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.”

The NAHB’s recent Home Builder Preferences Survey reveals that in addition to closer quarters, new homes are now being constructed with separate laundry rooms, which are in-demand by both first-time homebuyers and other generations of buyers. Energy-efficient add-ons are also a top preference, as well as a main floor full bathroom. Features on their way out include cork flooring, an outdoor kitchen and a pet washing station.

The penchant for shrunk-down square footage, however, seems to vary by income. According to the survey, the more income the homebuyer earns, the more space they seek, with homebuyers earning $150,000 or more annually preferring a 2,500-square-foot home.

Source: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

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