For the past four years, new single-family homes have been shrinking. However, the trend may reverse course as Americans recall the challenges of living at home during the pandemic. A first quarter report by NAHB shows that the median single-family square floor area increased. Instead of seeking smaller, more affordable homes, evidence suggests that homebuyers may want a home with an office, gym, or other functional spaces so they can continue life without as many disruptions if a stay-at-home order comes into play.
New single-family home size has trended lower over the last four years as builders sought to add additional entry-level supply to an inventory-starved housing market. However, the coronavirus and the recession of 2020 potentially reset those trends, as evidence grows that households will seek more space for home offices, home gyms, and other purposes.
According to first quarter 2020 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area ticked up to 2,291 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes was effectively unchanged at 2,506 square feet.