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New homes with 5,000 square feet or more of living space increased both as a share of all new construction and in absolute number in 2015, according to the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction. In 2015, the share of new homes this size reached a post-recession peak of 3.9 percent of new homes started. The total number of 5,000+ square-foot homes started that year was 28,000 units.

eoh_chart_5000_sq_ft_homes

In 2012, the number of new homes started with 5,000+ square feet rose to 15,000 units, yet their share remained at only 2.8 percent. In 2015, while the number of 5,000+ square feet homes started (28,000) was the highest since 2008, their share of the new market (3.9 percent) was the highest since 2004. A previous post discussed the declining trend in the median and average size of new single-family homes due to an expansion in entry-level market wherein home size is expected to trend lower. This is not necessarily a contradiction, because 5,000+ square foot homes are relatively uncommon and represent the extreme upper tail of the distribution. The extreme upper tail can behave differently than the center of the distribution, measured by the average or median.

In the boom year of 2006, 3.0 percent or 45,000 new homes started were 5,000 square feet or larger. In 2007, the share of new homes this size was 3.6 percent, yet the total number of 5,000+ square-foot homes started that year fell to 37,000. In 2008, only 20,000 such homes were started or 3.2 percent of the total. From 2009 to 2011, fewer than 13,000 of these large homes were started every year, accounting for less than 3 percent of all new construction during this period. The extent to which the 5,000+ square foot homes have recovered, roughly to where they were in 2008, shows a growing trend at the top of the market at least through 2015.

When analyzed by the different characteristics, 79 percent of 5,000+ square feet home started have a finished basement, 68 percent have a 3 or more car garage, and at least 60 percent have a patio or porch. More than 50 percent of the homes have 5 bedrooms or more and 70 percent have 4 bathrooms or more.

This post was originally published on NAHB’s blog, Eye on Housing.

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