Are New Homes Getting Smaller?

Dear Expert: How has the square footage of homes changed in recent years? Are new homes getting smaller?

A. Take a drive down any American street and you’ll see home sizes vary based on the age of the neighborhood. Homes built in the 90s are not just big, they’re huge when compared to homes built in the 50s. The average American home jumped from 983 square feet in 1950 to 2,443 square feet in 2010, even though the average American family size decreased. For more than a decade, many people in the architectural community have been emphasizing the build better, not bigger philosophy. Now, as the U.S. economy climbs out of a tailspin and environmental concerns are on the rise, that message has gone mainstream. New homes are shrinking. Recent data shows—for the first time in at least 10 years—the average square footage of a new single-family home is falling. People are finding ways to re-purpose existing space when remodeling, and making smart use of less space when building new. This way, they can use their budget for high-end materials, finishes, and unique architectural features.

Ed RoskowskiExpert Note: Rather than worrying about impressing your neighbors with a big home, focus on having a home that fulfills your family’s lifestyle and unique needs. Build better, not bigger.

—Ed Roskowinski, CR
General Manager, Vujovich Design Build, Inc.