ruminations about architecture and design

Friday, December 10, 2010

u.s. house size trends

Recent data from the U.S. census shows a slight decline in the average new house size, from around 2500 s.f. to 2400 s.f. In the late sixties and seventies, when home building peaked for the baby boom generation, houses were averaging around 1700 s.f. so the recent decline has to be viewed from the perspective of our entire housing stock, not just the exuberance of the past few decades. Anecdotally, we're observing clients who demonstrate an awareness of how much space they actually want, as opposed to looking at their new dwelling as a weapon in a positional arms race. Formal dining rooms are still being built, as are formal living rooms that are adjacent to informal family rooms. More importantly, not much is being built right now because of the large inventory of overpriced homes that are unoccupied. Predictions of an uptick in housing starts in the spring of next year leave this blogger feeling skeptical. Who can buy them? Who can get the financing to build them?

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