Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Homes Built Today Compared to the 1970s: More Square Footage, Baths, Garages, Central A/C



In 1973, slightly more than half (52%) of all new homes built had either just a single garage (17%), a carport (13%) or no garage (22%), and only 48% of new homes had garages for 2 cars or more.  In each of the last ten years, 80% or more of new homes built have garages for two cars or more, with a slight decrease over the last few years (see chart above, Census Bureau data here). 

In 1973, 60% of new homes were built with two or more bathrooms, and that percentage increased steadily over the years and reached a peak of 96% in 2005 before declining gradually to 93% by 2008 (data here).

Although not presented here graphically, Census Bureau data show that fewer than half (49%) of  new homes in 1973 were built with central air-conditioning, and by 2004 the percentage of homes built with air conditioning increased to 90% (data here).
 
Bottom Line: A generation ago it was fairly common for new homes to be built with a single garage, single bathroom and no air conditioning, and today those types of new homes have become extinct.  What are most common today are new homes with two or more bathrooms, two-car garages or bigger, central airconditioning, and 50% more square footage than new homes in the early 1970s (data here).     

9 Comments:

At 12/13/2009 9:04 AM, Blogger Andy said...

Your chart is misleading, since you really mean "2 car garage" not "2 garages". That's not at all the same thing.

 
At 12/13/2009 9:38 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Andy: It's fixed now. Thanks.

 
At 12/13/2009 12:32 PM, Anonymous Norman said...

Comparing our new start sq footage with Europe's would be an eyeopener, also.

I haven't done a real study but Googling it shows that new housing (detached and apartments) average 1,000 sq ft.

Just another sign that 'terrible' America has a standard of living that is 30% higher than any advanced country to say nothing of the others.

 
At 12/13/2009 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another sign that 'terrible' America has a standard of living that is 30% higher than any advanced country to say nothing of the others.

The left is working to correct this terrible injustice in Copenhagen right mow. Don't worry comrade Obama is working hard to restore Hope through Change.

 
At 12/13/2009 6:34 PM, Anonymous Dr. said...

The European house size comparison is misleading. Europe, with its urbanocentrism, has almost no suburbs. Most houses are urban, and developers must follow stringent construction guidelines. To make money, they must build many row houses on small plots. I'll wager that a comparison between urban homes (Chicago vs. Paris, for example) would show that our urban homes are only slightly larger than Europe's.

Most US houses are suburban or small town. Lumber costs are much lower in the US than in most of Europe, so many people can afford large homes. But, due to poor design, the space in many American homes is so badly utilized that a 3000 sq ft home is functionally equivalent to a 2000 sq ft home in Europe. (I visited Germany a few months ago and saw how they get high utility from each square meter of living space.)

 
At 12/14/2009 4:21 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Dr., do you have any evidence German houses in urban areas utilize space better than American houses in urban areas (in square feet or meters)?

Typically, houses are designed, built, and sold based on consumer demand. Of course, German consumer choices are severely limited, which may help explain why it takes them so long (two years on average) to buy a house.

 
At 12/14/2009 9:23 AM, Blogger DB said...

"I visited Germany a few months ago and saw how they get high utility from each square meter of living space".

I lived there for 3 years...and I disagree with the good Doctor T's assessment.

 
At 12/14/2009 1:06 PM, Anonymous elizabethL said...

I think now is a great time to buy a home. The $8000 first-time home buyers tax credit was just extended which if used on a new home, can create more jobs (roofers, plumbers, interior decorators, ect...)

Here's a website with a little more information on the pro's of buying right now.

http://www.fischerandfrichtel.com/blog/index.php/2009/10/fischer-and-frichtel-home-community-blog-why-now-is-the-time-to-buy/

Thanks

 
At 12/14/2009 1:49 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

To counter the point, you need to plan on staying in a home 7-to 10 years to pay off the transaction costs in a (best case) flat price environment. Recall that you start with 6% commission going out, then there is title insurance, lawyers fees, this and that fees etc.
If one looks at the total cost of a house start with the Mortgage, add Taxes and Insurance add maintenance and repair and add the transaction cost and I suspect that the cost of renting will be less for the next several years. Plus you can't get trapped as many are now in a home when you need to move. Of course the real estate industry says its always a good time to buy, because its always a good time to make their commission.

 

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