Inflated Prices Translating to Smaller New Homes

New York, NY, August 22, 2023-"For many Americans, homeownership may be attainable only if they give up a dining room,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Home prices are near record highs, frustrating millions of potential buyers who feel priced out of the housing market. Home builders are having to find ways to make their product more affordable to increase their pool of customers. 

“Shrinking the size of a new single-family home is an increasingly popular way to do it. Smaller homes can help cost-constrained buyers facing high mortgage rates. They also boost the bottom line for builders who are contending with spiraling labor and construction costs.

“Since 2018, the average unit size for new housing starts has decreased 10% nationally to 2,420 square feet, according to Livabl by Zonda, a listing platform for new construction homes. Construction starts for new single-family homes declined in 2022. But starts for homes with fewer than three bedrooms increased 9.5% over the same period, according to a Zillow report.

“Home sizes are shrinking the most in some of the hotter markets of previous years. The Seattle area, where the size of newly built homes is 18% smaller than it was five years ago, tops the list. New homes in Charlotte, N.C., and San Antonio shrank by 14%, Livabl by Zonda said.

“Most builders and architects follow the same basic playbook to produce tighter, more efficient living spaces. They are axing dining areas, bathtubs and separate living rooms. Secondary bedrooms and loft spaces are shrinking and sometimes disappearing. 

“At the same time, they are increasing the size of multiuse rooms like kitchens and great rooms. Shared spaces like bunk rooms and jack-and-jill bathrooms, which are located between and shared by two bedrooms, are on the rise. In some cases, the kitchen island has become the only eating area in the home.

“Estridge Homes, a semi-custom new-home builder that operates near Indianapolis, recently launched a new neighborhood concept with detached homes 300 to 500 square feet smaller and $50,000 to $75,000 cheaper than it typically builds.

“The builder is slashing some bedrooms and bathrooms and trading some indoor living space for outdoor space. Lots in the neighborhood are smaller too, but the builder is working with limited acreage by landscaping to create privacy.”