The US Census Bureau’s Report Reveals Interesting Home Trends

The US Census Bureau just released their annual Characteristics of New Housing report for 2011. The report provides national, annual data on the characteristics of new privately-owned residential structures, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type of wall material, and sales prices. Many characteristics are available at the region level. Since the information is based on census records, it’s paints a pretty accurate picture of new home trends.

While some of the information is a little dry, some of it is also pretty curious. For instance, the reports says only 88% of all single-family homes completed in 2011 had air-conditioning. By region, the proportions were 81% in the Northeast, 91% in the Midwest, 99% in the South and 62% in the West. That means 1% of the homes built last year in the South do not air conditioning!

There’s also some pretty important statistics in the report. For example, the data suggests conventional mortgages may be picking back up – even if only slightly. While conventional mortgages hit an all-time low (percentage wise) in 2010 and FHA-backed mortgages hit an all-time high, those numbers moved a little closer to normal in 2011.62% of all new single-family homes sold were financed by a conventional loan compared to 58% in 2010 and 62% in 2009. 20% were financed by an FHA-insured loan compared to 25% in 2010, and 24% in 2009. While this is obviously not a sustained pattern, it is a small indication that things may be heading back to normal.

You can view the full report on the Census Bureau’s website or check out some of the interesting highlights below.

In 2011:

  • The average single-family house completed was 2,480 square feet. In 2010, the average single-family house was 2,392 square feet.
  • 33% of the new single-family homes sold in the U.S. had vinyl siding as the principal type of exterior wall material. For attached single-family homes sold, it was 41% and for detached single-family homes sold, it was 32%.
  • 39% of single-family homes completed had 4 or more bedrooms. 48% of them had 3 bedrooms.
  • Of the single-family homes completed with 4 or more bedrooms, 57% had 3 or more bathrooms.
  • 19% of new single-family homes sold had a garage that could hold 3 or more cars.
  • 30% of single-family homes completed had a full or partial basement, 53% had a slab or other type of foundation, and 17% had a crawl space.
  • 54% of single-family homes completed had 2 or more stories.
  • 48% of new single-family homes sold had 1 fireplace and 5% had 2 or more fireplaces.
  • The average new single-family home sold was built on a lot of 16,663 square feet. The average lot size for new homes sold inside metropolitan areas was 15,616 square feet. Outside metropolitan areas, it was 28,768 square feet.
  • 62% of all new single-family homes sold were financed by a conventional loan. The proportion was 58% in 2010 and 62% in 2009. The proportion that were financed by an FHA-insured loan was 20% in 2011, 25% in 2010, and 24% in 2009.
  • The average sales price of new single-family homes sold was $267,900. The average sales price was $272,900 in 2010, $270,900 in 2009 and $292,600 in 2008.
  • The average price per square foot for new single-family homes sold was $83.38. Regionally, the average price per square foot was $111.37 in the Northeast, $87.53 in the Midwest, $76.73 in the South, and $96.12 in the West.
  • Of the 138,000 multifamily units completed, 44% had one bathroom, 4% had 1½ bathrooms, and 53% had 2 or more bathrooms.
  • The average square footage of multifamily units completed and built for sale was 1,408.
  • 12% of multifamily units completed were age restricted. The proportion was 8% in 2010 and 9% in 2009.
  • 9,000 multifamily buildings were completed. Of these, 18% were 2-unit buildings and 13% were 3 to 4-unit buildings.
  • 89% of multifamily buildings completed had 1 to 3 floors and 11% had 4 or more floors.

 

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