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Single-Family Lot Sizes Drop to Record Low


Single-Family Lot Sizes Drop to Record Low

October 5, 2020
Single-family home construction site with framing almost complete
Photo: Christian Delbert

Since the Census Bureau began tracking lot sizes for single-family detached homes in 1992, lot sizes have only decreased. Last year, lot sizes were the smallest in history at 8,177 square feet. Compared to 2018, this was a year-over-year drop of 390 feet, says NAHB. As the number of homes built on large lots decreases while small lot builds increase, some regions of the country are seeing their own trends. New England’s median lot size, for example, is three times as large as the national median. The Mountain and West South Central regions are closest to the national median of 0.19 acres.

New England is known for strict local zoning regulations that often require very low densities. Therefore, it is not surprising that single-family detached spec homes started in New England are built on some of the largest lots in the nation, with more than half of the lots exceeding half an acre. The neighboring Mid Atlantic and more distant East South Central divisions are next on the list with the median lot occupying about a third of an acre (0.3 acres).

In the South, the West South Central division stands out for starting half of single-family detached spec homes on lots under 0.16 acres. This is significantly lower than the median lot sizes in the neighboring East South Central division where half of the lots exceed 0.3 acres.

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