Study: Homes Get Larger While Lots Shrink

House on small lot

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A big backyard may be tougher to find nowadays. Single-family homes are getting larger whereas the lots are getting smaller. The median home size is now about 2,260 square feet—up from 2,170 square feet in 2010. The median lot size, however, on a new home has decreased nearly 18% (10,500 square feet in 2010 to 8,700 square feet in 2020), according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by StorageCafe.

“The demand for housing in many markets is so much higher than the current supply that developers of new residential properties have to make the most of available land,” says Isaac Hiatt of Yardi Matrix, a real estate research firm. “This has led to an increase in what many would call single-family condensed housing.”

Homes built in the 1960s or 1970s were often on more expansive plots of land. But many of those homes are being replaced by larger single-family homes or, when zoning allows, by multiple townhouses, the study says.

However, during the pandemic, more homeowners are putting greater focus on their outdoor spaces. A big backyard has been in demand. Where are home buyers most likely to find a larger yard space?

StorageCafe analyzed lot sizes in the largest U.S. cities. The best city for a large yard: Indianapolis, according to the analysis. Lot sizes in Indianapolis are nearly 10 times those in Philadelphia.

In general, Southern cities tended to have larger lot sizes compared to West and East coast cities.

A graphic of the United States showing the cities with the biggest and the smallest house lot sizes.