Are American Home Sizes Growing or Shrinking?

Remember that trend toward smaller houses widely predicted and reported, well Lew Sichelman sees the inverse in figures recently reported at the annual convention of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in Orlando.
February 24, 2012, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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A couple of weeks ago, we linked to an article by Kaid Benfield reporting on the trend towards smaller homes in the U.S., according to survey and census results and predictions from the National Association of Home Builders. Well, recently Urban Land ran a piece citing census and NAHB data and reached an entirely different conclusion - that house sizes are increasing. So, what gives?

It's not quite clear in reading the two pieces, how they arrived at divergent data. While both quote census data numbers to back up their conclusions, their numbers are different. This may result from one using average home size and the other using median home size. Sichelman isn't clear on which he's using, and does not provide a link or detailed reference for his date. However, Benfield acknowledges the "average" versus "median" divergence and still sees a similar trend line, irrespective of what statistical analysis tool is used.

Another potential cause for the conflicting findings is the of the age of the data referenced. Benfield does not seem to incorporate census data more recently than 2010, while Sichelman's reference point seems to be data from the first half of 2011

Since both authors report their NAHB sources predicting a long term trend towards smaller homes, I assume the information used by Sichelman to reach his conclusion is a momentary blip in an otherwise ongoing trend towards smaller average (and median) home sizes.

But please, read each piece and judge for yourself.

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Published on Friday, February 17, 2012 in Urban Land
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