New single-family US homes are getting bigger to meet demand from well-off people but fewer single homes are being built resulting in a drag on the economy.
US Census Bureau
released Monday show
the percentage of US homes built last year with at least four bedrooms
increased to 44%, up from 41% in 2012. Last year’s percentage was the highest
for new homes with four bedrooms or more since Census began tracking the figures
The Wall Street Journal
said that US sales of new homes are running at a pace so far this year
of roughly 60% of their annual average since 2000. Meanwhile, the
median price of a new home reached $268,900 last year, the highest annual median
since Census began tracking the figures in 1963.
“There are the haves and the have-nots,” said Brad
Hunter, chief economist for housing market consulting firm Metrostudy,
a subsidiary of Hanley Wood LLC. “Those who are buying homes happen to be the
people who have money, savings in the bank and have good credit scores.”
In addition to including more extras, new homes simply continue to get larger.
The median size (the mid-point where half the number is above and the other half
below) of a newly built home came in at 2,384 square feet last year, up 3.4%
from 2012. The figure has increased each year since 2009. The trend continued in
this year’s first quarter.
chairman of the index committee of S&P Dow Jones Indices
says: "New construction, not sales of existing homes, is what generates jobs
and adds to GDP growth. In most recoveries, the share of single family homes in
housing starts (see first chart) surges. This time, there was an initial surge
followed by a sharp drop. While apartment construction is up, it has not made up
the difference in housing starts which continue at about two-thirds the level we
should be seeing."