Average Home is 300 sq ft Bigger Since 2009

The growth in the average size of a new home paused briefly at the beginning of the recession as Americans retrenched in a lot of ways, but times have changed.   According to Census Bureau data presented at the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) International Builder's Show earlier in the month, the average home size has increased by over 300 square feet since 2009, from 2,362 square feet in 2009 to 2,679 square feet in 2013.  

Things have changed within that square footage as well.  New homes 

have more bedrooms, more bathrooms, and more amenities than they did in 2009. 

  • Forty-eight percent of homes built in 2013 had four bedrooms; 34 percent had that many in 2009.
  • The percentage of homes with three or more full baths has gone from 23 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2013.
  • Twenty-two percent had three-car (or more) garage bays compared to 16 percent in 2010.
  • Two-story homes have gone from a slight majority - 51 percent of new homes - in 2009 to 60 percent in 2013.

Amenities most likely to be found in new single-family homes built today are a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, low-e windows, a laundry room and a great room.  Granite countertops, double sinks and a central island are kitchen features favored by many builders as are nine-foot or higher ceilings, a front porch, exterior lighting, and a patio.  Energy-Star rated appliances and windows are also featured in many homes. 

As homes get bigger, so does the average sales price, rising from $248,000 in 2009 to $318,000 in 2013. Consequently, according to Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research, "It requires a high credit score and a nice income to qualify for a mortgage."   Quint said that the spread between the average Experian credit score of all U.S. consumers and the average home borrower's score has risen from 33 points in the early 2000s to 58 points in 2013.  The median income of new-home buyers has climbed as well, from $91,768 in 2005 to $107,607 in 2011.

During the same period, the number of new-home sales has dramatically declined, from 1.28 million to 306,000. "There are not as many people who have the income that can qualify for a new home," said Quint.