Houses Keep Getting Bigger, Even as Families Get Smaller


When your adult child comes back to live with you, there is a good reason he or she won’t be exiled to the basement.

If you have a newer home, you are going to have the room to spare.

The average size of newly built home continues to grow, although not as much as in previous years. It is now 2,687 square feet, according to the Census Bureau’s annual survey of American housing. The census also says that 31 percent of newly constructed homes are 3,000 square feet or more.

Houses Keep Getting Bigger

The average square footage of newly built homes grows, with nearly a third more than 3,000 square feet.

Houses are being built with more bedrooms and bathrooms, too. The size of the average household has shrunk to 2.58 people, but 47 percent of new homes have four or more bedrooms, and 38 percent of them have three bathrooms or more. Demand for the extra bathroom shot up after the Great Recession ended.

Homes Have a Lot More Bathrooms

New homes with 2 1/2 bathrooms were the norm in the mid-1980s. Now three bathrooms are demanded.

And a Lot More Bedrooms

The percentage of homes built with four or more bedrooms is growing quickly.


Citing census data, the Pew Research Center reported last week that in 2014, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household.

That’s not the reason homes are getting bigger. Remember, this is a survey of new homes. (And this particular set of data is for single-family homes, which tend to be in more suburban settings where there is open land to build.) New houses tend to be more expensive than used ones (“existing houses,” as the industry terms them). Wealthy people are driving that new-house market, and builders are giving them what they demand. The National Association of Home Builders say Americans want even more: on average, 17 percent more space.

So let’s figure we’ll be tacking on yet another bedroom and bath soon — for the grandchildren. We wouldn’t want them living in the basement.

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