Homebuyers still want to buy big

iStock_ConstructionWorkerDespite plenty of publicity about homebuyers wanting smaller, more energy-efficient homes, the latest “Characteristics of New Housing” report from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that buyers still want houses with several bedrooms and bathrooms and a traditional heating and cooling system. And builders are keen to meet that demand.

The report has two sets of statistics, one for detached houses that builders completed last year and another for detached houses that builders sold last year.

Of the 483,000 new houses that were completed:

  • 55 percent had two or more stories
  • 41 percent had four or more bedrooms, and just 13 percent had only one or two bedrooms
  • 30 percent had three or more bathrooms, and just 7 percent had only one or one-and-a-half bathrooms
  • 30 percent had a full or partial basement while the rest had either a crawl space, slab or other type of foundation
  • 89 percent had air-conditioning, 58 percent had a warm-air furnace and 38 percent had a heat pump as the primary heating system
  • 59 percent had a gas-powered heating system, and 39 percent had an electric-powered heating system

The completed houses were 2,505 square feet, on average.

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Of the 368,000 new houses that were sold:

  • 91 percent had a garage that could shelter at least two cars, with 70 percent having a two-car garage and 21 percent having a garage large enough for three or more cars
  • 53 percent had at least one fireplace with 48 percent having exactly one and 5 percent having two or more.

The sold houses were built on a lot of 15,634 square feet, on average.

Rise is multigenerational households

One reason why large houses with so many bedrooms and bathrooms might remain popular is a slight rise in the proportion of households that are multigenerational, defined by the Census Bureau as having three or more generations living together.

In 2000, 3.7 percent of U.S. households were multigenerational. By 2010, that figure had ticked up to 4 percent.

A Census Bureau survey brief observed, “Multigenerational households may be more likely to reside in areas where new immigrants live with their relatives, in areas where housing shortages or high costs force families to double up their living arrangements, or in areas that have relatively high percentages of children born to unmarried mothers who live with their children in their parents’ homes.”

HSH Associates Financial News Blog

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