The Incredible Shrinking Home

A new AIA report shows that new homes under construction are getting smaller in response to market forces.

"Key characteristics of the American home continue to evolve, in part because of a dramatic slowdown in the housing industry, in part because emerging weakness in the national economy, in part because of demographic changes in our population, and in part because of the growing awareness of sustainable design principles.

One obvious sign of the changing characteristics of homes is their size. According to government figures, the average size of a new home has increased almost 50 percent over the past three decades. As recently as 2006, almost twice as many residential architects participating in the AIA Home Design Trends Survey reported home sizes to be increasing as reported them to be decreasing. By 2007, that trend had reversed, as more residential architects reported home sizes to be decreasing than increasing. With the 2008 survey, more than twice as many respondents reported home size declines as reported increases (33.5 percent vs. 15.5 percent).

Trends are similar, although less pronounced, for the volume of homes (e.g., higher ceiling heights, two-story foyers). In our 2005 survey, most (51 percent) residential architects reported that the volume of homes was increasing, where only a small minority (4 percent) reported them to be declining. By 2008, with growing concerns over housing affordability as well as dramatically higher home energy prices that increase the cost of heating these larger spaces, this gap had narrowed significantly: 28 percent of respondents reported the volume of homes to be increasing, while 12 percent reported them to be declining."

Full Story: As Housing Market Weakens, Homes Are Getting Smaller

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