If you’ve been active in your new home hunt, you’ve probably noticed one similar trend about the homes and communities you’ve been checking out: homes are getting bigger.
Well, you’re not just seeing things. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the size of single-family homes has been rising for decades. In fact, the median size of a single-family home completed in in the United States in 2015 was 2,467 sq. ft., up 14 sq. ft. from the previous year and up 240 sq. ft from 2005.
So what’s behind this steady increase in home sizes? It all comes down to the need to stretch out.
“Builders are building bigger because buyers want more space for their money,” says Eric Tovar, owner and president of Churchill Classics, a homebuilder based in Rockville, Md., noting trends like commercial-style gourmet kitchens, master bathroom suites with oversized showers, screened-in porches that extend the family room for outdoor living, oversized garages and open floor plans.
While desirable trends like these certainly add square footage to a floor plan, there are plenty of other factors that might help explain this year-to-year growth.
Participants in the New Home Source Insights Panel, a panel of new-home shoppers, say they want a larger home. Here’s what they’re looking for:
- 31 percent of respondents say they want an open floor plan
- 29 percent say they are upsizing because of an increase in family size
- 16 percent cite an increase in income as their reason for upsizing
One panelist specifically mentioned family as his reason for moving:
“I’ve lived in my home for about 14 years and it suits me fine, but I want a larger home to have a bit more enjoyment for my entire family,” says home shopper Ronald Gawronski of Miami, Fla.
Another listed a desire for an efficient open floor plan, despite living in an open concept previously. “The longest I’ve ever lived in one home was in a small two-bedroom home with an open floor plan,” says Joseph Hester, an active shopper in Charlotte, N.C. “So, I guess the bottom line is that an open floor plan is nice, but it works better in a larger home.”
While the everyday shopper may be dreaming about homes with open concepts, room for family growth and trendy and spacious rooms, how might this affect the first-time homebuyer who may be searching for something entirely different? According to The Bank of America Homebuyer’s Insights Report, many have similar wants and needs as current and previous homeowners.
The report found that 75 percent of first-time buyers would prefer to bypass the starter home and buy a home that will meet their needs in the future, even if that means waiting to save more. More interesting still, 35 percent said they actually plan to retire in this first home.
Yet there are still plenty of option for those who choose not to bypass their starter home. Homebuilders like D.R. Horton, TRI Pointe Homes and Meritage Homes are increasingly switching focus to the younger generations, building starter homes that cater to Millennials.
Happy home hunting!