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Are Single-Family Home Size Trends Reversing Post-Pandemic?

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Are Single-Family Home Size Trends Reversing Post-Pandemic?

House hunters searched for spacious floor plans to accommodate increased time at home during the pandemic, but as students return to the classroom and remote workers return to the office, that trend is changing

August 22, 2022
Small A-frame neighborhood home
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Throughout the mid-pandemic housing boom, prospective buyers sought out larger homes with more expansive floor plans that included space for home offices and private havens during months of quarantine restrictions. Two years later, however, that trend seems to be reversing as the housing market weakens and more remote workers return to the office. 

According to the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area declined to 2,302 square feet in Q2 2022, while average square footage for new single-family homes decreased to 2,498, Eye on Housing reports.

Since Great Recession lows (and on a one-year moving average basis), the average size of new single-family homes is now 5.9% higher, while the median size is 10.3% higher.

Home size rose from 2009 to 2015 as entry-level new construction was constrained. Home size declined between 2016 and 2020 as more starter homes were developed. Going forward we expect home size to face opposing determinants. A shift in consumer preferences for more space due to the increased use and roles of homes (for work among other purposes) will increase the demand for space, while tighter budgets due to elevated interest rates will reduce demand.

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