If you’re under the impression home sizes are getting larger, you’re correct. According to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, today’s average new home is about 300 square feet bigger than it was four to five years ago — 2,679 square feet in 2013, compared to 2,362 square feet in 2009.
There are several reasons for the expansion. For starters, industry experts say larger houses are becoming more important as multi-generational families proliferate, and aging grandparents, adult children and others join the household. More demands on the home require additional elbow room.
Second, homeowners have been able to take advantage of lower interest rates and rising incomes over the last several years to buy more home for their money.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports new houses with four bedrooms snagged 48 percent of the market share in 2013 — their highest share ever — up from 41 percent in 2012. The percentage of homes with at least three full bathrooms rose to 35 percent in 2013 from 23 percent in 2010. The upward trend also applies to the percentage of two-story, single-family homes started, with the share steadily rising to 60 percent in 2013 from 51 percent in 2009.
Today’s new homes also are accommodating more garage space. Twenty-two percent of the homes built in 2013 had room for three or more cars, compared to 16 percent in 2009.
Amenities, too, have changed over the years, according to the NAHB’s recent survey of home builders. Great rooms, walk-in closets, laundry rooms and energy-efficient windows top the list of builder-favored amenities. Granite countertops, double sinks, front porches, kitchen islands, exterior lighting, patios and at least 9-foot ceilings also are popular choices.
Curious about which options bring up the rear? Laminate kitchen countertops, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces, sunrooms, two-story foyers and whirlpool tubs in the master bathroom are the items builders said they were least likely to include in their new homes.
• Andy Warren is president of Maracay Homes, the Arizona subsidiary of the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company. He serves on the board of directors for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and Greater Phoenix Leadership; as well as the board of directors and as an Executive Committee member with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute.