New Single-Family Homes Are Getting Bigger

A picture of a newly constructed single-family home, with a white and dark red color scheme.

© pamspix - E+ / Getty Images

The pandemic has prompted more Americans to want to supersize their homes. The median single-family square floor area as increased to 2,337 square feet as of the third quarter, while the average (mean) square footage of new single-family homes rose to 2,541, according to the latest Census Bureau data, as reported by the National Association of Home Builders.

The average size of new single-family homes is 6.2% bigger since the lows reached during the Great Recession.

“Going forward we expect home size to increase again, given a shift in consumer preferences for more space due to the increased use and roles of homes—for work, for study—in the post-COVID-19 environment,” writes Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist, for the association’s Eye on Housing blog.

A line graph showing the change over time in single-family home sizes

Existing homeowners are also looking to expand their spaces and are undertaking larger remodeling projects to either enlarge or rearrange floor plans, according to the Q4 2020 Kitchen & Bath Market Index, released by the National Kitchen & Bath Association and John Burns Real Estate Consulting last spring. “We’re seeing an incomparable surge in homeowners looking to rearrange floor plans, tear out complete kitchens, baths, and other rooms to make space for increased activity within the home, and generally create a space that better suits their evolving needs,” Bill Darcy, the NKBA’s CEO, said in March when releasing the report.

As Homes Expand, Starter Homes Fade Away

Meanwhile, the supply of starter homes has dwindled by more than half over the past five years, according to® listing data.® defines a starter home as one that is generally less than 1,850 square feet. Using that definition, there were only 300,000 starter homes listed for sale in September. Also, the median list price for a starter home reached $260,000 last month, about 11% higher than a year ago, according to®. Starter homes are 64% more expensive than they were in 2016 compared with larger homes, which have grown 43% in that same period.