New Homes Today Are Larger, With More Amenities

How does your home compare with the latest trends in residential construction? The U.S. Census Bureau recently released reams of data on new-home characteristics for 2014.

New Homes

Looking at data compiled over the past 40 years, new homes today are larger and come with more amenities than in decades past. Rental units are more likely to be part of large, multifamily developments than they once were. And some construction features, such as vinyl siding, have seen their popularity wax and wane over the years.

Take a look at some of the Census Bureau’s findings:

Of the 620,000 single-family homes completed in 2014:

  • 91 percent had air conditioning (up from 48 percent in 1974).
  • 10 percent had two bedrooms or less, while 46 percent had four or more. (Forty years earlier, 64 percent of new homes had three bedrooms.)
  • 4 percent had one and one-half bathrooms or less, while 36 percent had three or more. (It was a different story in 1974: 40 percent of homes had one and one-half bathrooms or less, and there were so few homes with three or more bathrooms that they weren’t even counted.)
  • 30 percent had vinyl siding as the principal exterior wall material. (Vinyl siding was first tracked by the Census Bureau in 1992, when it appeared on 23 percent of new homes. Its use peaked at 40 percent of new homes in 2002.)
  • The median size was 2,453 square feet (up from 1,560 in 1974).

Of the 437,000 single-family homes sold in 2014:

  • 72 percent were in a homeowners’ association.
  • 4 percent were in an age-restricted development.
  • 39 percent had one story, 56 percent had two stories, and 6 percent had three or more.
  • 71 percent were paid for using conventional financing, and 9 percent were paid for in cash.
  • 31 percent had both a patio and a porch.
  • The average sales price was $345,800 (up from $97,600 in 1984).
  • The average price per square foot was $97.09 (up from $60.21 in 1994).

Of the 264,000 multifamily units completed in 2014:

  • 48 percent were in buildings with 50 units or more (up from 20 percent in 1974).
  • 9 percent were age-restricted.
  • 47 percent had two or more bathrooms.
  • 5 percent were efficiencies.
  • The median size of units built for rent was 1,080 square feet. The median size of those built for sale was 1,432 square feet.
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