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porchRegional Spotlight—There is a clear geographic pattern to the exterior amenities included on new homes, according to data from the Survey of Construction (SOC). Among Census divisions, the highest incidence of one of these amenities occurs in the East South Central (the four southern states of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee), where 90 percent of the new homes started in 2012 had porches.

The SOC is conducted by the Census Bureau, partly funded by HUD, and the source of the familiar series on housing starts. Traditionally, it has provided detail only for the four Census regions. But since 2009, in a move strongly endorsed by NAHB, the Census Bureau has made detail for the nine Census divisions available. Since then, at least 90 percent of homes in the East South Central division have been built with porches. At the other extreme, the share of new homes with porches in the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) has been under 50 percent every year.

As of 2012, patios are most common on new homes in the West South Central, followed by the Mountain and Pacific divisions. Patios are least common in New England, followed by the Middle Atlantic and East North Central. These rankings have remained relatively stable since 2009, although the adjacent Mountain and West South Central divisions have changed places at the top of the list.

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