Following up on the same data behind the CNN story on the McMansion comeback, the NYT looks more closely at the characteristics of new houses in 2012. Here is my summary:
-Housing starts were still down in 2012. Looking at the graph with housing start data since 1973 shows that the last few years have been quite different.
-The homes built in 2012 were bigger: the highest median square footage ever of 2,306 square feet, 41% of the houses were four or more bedrooms (a new record), and 30% of new houses had 3 or more bathrooms (also a new record).
My thoughts on this data:
1. This is not a big surprise. While housing starts are way down, wealthier Americans and others have still been able to buy large new homes. Again, Toll Brothers is doing just fine. On the other hand, the lower ends of the housing market are not doing well.
2. It is interesting again for people to pick up on the highest-ever median square footage for new houses. For years, journalists and others have looked at the average square footage which is bit down from its high several years ago. Perhaps the median is now alluring because it is at its highest point and therefore can be linked to McMansions and American excess?
3. More houses have more bedrooms and yet the average family size in the United States has decreased in recent decades and more Americans are now living alone. So what are these bedrooms being used for?