Large lot sizes and big houses are still gaining in popularity among buyers of new homes, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data on housing characteristics.
The “Characteristics of New Housing” report, released this month, found that the average size of a new single-family U.S. home sold last year grew 2 percent since 2004, to 2,414 square feet. The median square footage grew 3 percent from 2004 to 2005.
The average square footage of new homes sold last year dropped 0.3 percent compared to 2004 in the Northeast region but grew 4.3 percent in the West, 2.1 percent in the Midwest and 1 percent in the South.
There was a 1 percent rise from 2004 to 2005 in the share of new single-family homes sold with lot sizes of 22,000 square feet (about one-half acre) or more, a 1 percent increase in the share of homes sold on lots between 11,000 square feet to 21,999 square feet, and another 1 percent gain in the share of sold homes built on lots of 9,000 square feet to 10,999 square feet.
Prices are rising, too. The average sales price of new single-family homes last year increased 8.2 percent compared to 2004, rising from $274,500 to $297,000. The median price, meanwhile, increased 9 percent, from $221,000 to $240,900.
In the West region, the average sales price increased 14.3 percent, from $340,000 in 2004 to $388,700 in 2005. The average price jumped 8.4 percent in the Northeast ($366,100 to $397,000), 7 percent in the South ($232,800 to $249,200) and 3.7 percent in the Midwest (from $240,800 to $249,800) from 2004 to 2005.
The average price per square foot for a new home sold in 2005 reached $90.63, a 6.5 percent gain since 2004. The highest regional gain, at 11.9 percent (from $102.26 in 2004 to $114.45 in 2005) was in the West. The South followed with a 7.5 percent rise ($72.50 in 2004 to $77.96 in 2005), the Northeast had a 6.9 percent gain ($106.92 in 2004 to $114.28 in 2005), and the Midwest had a 2.1 percent gain ($86.82 in 2004 to $88.64 in 2004).
About 12 percent of new single-family homes sold in 2005 were on lots measuring 22,000 square feet or more, with 21 percent on lots between 11,000 square feet to 21,999 square feet, 16 percent on lots 9,000 square feet to 10,999 square feet, 19 percent on lots 7,000 to 8,999 square feet and 33 percent on lots under 7,000 square feet.
Within metro areas, 34 percent of homes sold in 2005 were built on lots of 7,000 square feet or less and 11 percent were built on lots of 22,000 square feet or more. Outside metro areas, 13 percent of homes sold in 2005 were built on lots of 7,000 square feet or less while one-quarter were built on lots of 22,000 square feet or more.
In the Northeast region, about 37 percent of sold homes in 2005 were built on lots of 22,000 square feet or more – a 4 percent gain from 2004. In the Midwest, meanwhile, the share of homes sold on lots of 22,000 square feet or more dropped from 14 percent in 2004 to 10 percent in 2005.
Also, the report revealed a 1 percent increase from 2004 to 2005 in the share of sold single-family homes measuring 3,000 square feet or more, and a 1 percent gain in the share of sold homes from 2,400 square feet to 2,999 square feet.
About 24 percent of single-family homes sold within metro areas in 2005 had 3,000 square feet or more of space, compared with 22 percent in 2004. Outside of metro areas, there was a downsizing trend in the category of super-sized homes: The number of single-family homes sold with 3,000 square feet or more of space dropped from 8 percent in 2004 to 7 percent in 2005.
In the Northeast region, the share of single-family homes sized 1,200-1,599 square feet increased from 9 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2005, while the share of homes measuring 2,000 square feet or more dropped during that period. In the West, meanwhile, the share of homes less than 2,000 square feet fell from 44 percent in 2004 to 38 percent in 2005 while the share of homes measuring 2,000 square feet or more grew from 56 percent in 2004 to 62 percent in 2005.
About 25 percent of all new houses sold in 2005 had three or more bathrooms, compared with 24 percent in 2004. About 36 percent of homes had 2.5 bathrooms, 36 percent had 2 bathrooms, and 3 percent had 1.5 or fewer bathrooms.
The share of new homes sold that had three bedrooms dropped from 49 percent to 48 percent from 2004 to 2005. About 42 percent of new homes sold in 2005 had four bedrooms and 10 percent had two or fewer bedrooms – these categories were unchanged from 2004.
The share of new homes sold that have four or more bedrooms has been gaining since 1981, when about 19 percent of all new homes sold had four or more bedrooms.
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