Americans seem to be more interested in smaller homes at the start of 2017 as the median and average square footage of new builds continues to decrease, according to a note from Robert Dietz for the National Association of Home Builders.

During the housing recovery, builders focused on higher end homes, however that is now beginning to change. The entry-level market continues to expand, including an increasing interest in townhomes, and new home sizes continue to shrink.

Median single-family square floor area decreased to 2,389 square feet, according to first-quarter data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis. This is down from 2,440 square feet last quarter and 2,465 square feet last year.

Similarly, the average square footage also decreased slightly from 2,652 square feet in the fourth quarter and 2,658 square feet last year to 2,628 square feet.

Click to Enlarge

new builds

(Source: NAHB)

But while the trend is decreasing home sizes, the chart above shows square footage is still relatively high. Since cycle lows, the average size of new single-family homes is 10% higher and the median size is 14% higher.

NAHB points out that while home sizes trend lower before recessions, the current decrease is due to builders bringing much needed entry-level homes to the market.

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