American houses are bigger than ever

06/03/2014 10:44 AM

06/03/2014 10:45 AM

The big house is back.

The average square footage of a new house built last year set a record, according to new figures from the Census Bureau.

After shrinking for a few years during the housing downturn, home size has surged. The average house built in 2013 weighed in at 2,598 square feet, a closet bigger than the previous record of 2,521 set in 2008. Of the new houses built last year, one-third had at least three bathrooms, and 44 percent had four or more bedrooms, both all-time highs.

This suggests that, even as some builders focus efforts on denser, more walkable communities, they’re still finding ways to beef up square footage. Another factor could be the focus lately by many home builders on higher-end developments, which tend to be larger than more modest starter-home projects. Either way, it suggests that Americans’ appetite for bigger houses didn’t go away in the downturn. It just took a breather.

It doesn’t look like their appetite for housing cars went away, either. Of the new houses built last year, 85 percent included a garage to fit at least two cars, an all-time high. More than one-fifth of homes – 21 percent – included a garage for three or more cars, a figure that has doubled since the early 1990s.

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