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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Study Analyzes Latest Data on New Single-Family Home Characteristics

From the National Association of Home Builders:

The report, "Characteristics of Single-Family Homes Started in 2009," provides great information on the latest trends in home design and is available for downloading from In it, author Paul Emrath, Ph.D., points to a number of basic trends that have developed in the housing data for newly started homes in recent years. For example, the median size of single-family homes peaked at 2,268 square feet for homes started in 2006, and has since retreated to just 2,100 square feet for homes started in 2009. While this decline could be a recession-related trend, the author says, it can also be attributed to "trends in factors like the desire to keep energy costs down ...
tightening credit standards, less emphasis on the pure investment motive for buying a home, and an increased share of homes sold to first-time buyers." Another noticeable decline was registered in the median sales price of single-family homes started between 2006 and 2009, which went from $256,000 to $211,000, respectively. Interestingly, however, even as sales price and home size declined over those years, the average number of bedrooms and bathrooms per house showed little change.

Other interesting findings include the following:

1) 3-car garages, fireplaces, patios and decks have each declined as a share of single-family starts since 2005.

2) The share of new single-family homes built with stucco as the primary siding has declined significantly. (This is likely a result of a geographic shift in construction activity.)

3) Over 35% of single-family homes started in 2009 had two-story foyers.

4) Almost all new single-family homes had washer and dryer connections, which were nearly always confined to a single location in the home. Nearly 80% of the time, the single washer-dryer location was on the first floor.

5) Nearly 80% of new single-family homes started in 2009 were connected to a public sewer system, while more than 87% were connected to a public water supply.

6) Over 47% of single-family homes started in 2009 were in communities governed by a Home Owners Association or other type of community association. It was most common for new homes to be built in association-governed communities in the Mountain and South Atlantic regions.

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