In 1973, 23 percent of new homes had four bedrooms or more. Today, 44 percent do. In 1987 (when this data was first collected), 12 percent of homes were built with at least three bathrooms. Now 33 percent are. Since the early ‘90s, three-car garages have grown from 11 percent of market to 21 percent. These numbers are not a reflection of all U.S. housing stock. Rather, they only reflect trends in new construction, and only new constructions among single-family homes. Apartments building aren’t included. But as new housing comes to replace the old, these historic figures capture broad changes in how Americans want to—and think they can afford to—live (with no small amount of help from the home mortgage interest deduction).
Right now, high-end homes are driving new single- family construction. And so perhaps these numbers will scale back some as the housing market continues to recover for families who can only offer smaller down payments and have dreams of more modest homes (families who, today, face a harder time getting a mortgage). It seems unlikely at this point, though, that the housing crash fundamentally altered the long-term trajectory of the never- expanding American home.
This suggests that, even as some builders focus efforts on denser, more walkable communities, they’re still finding ways beef up square footage. Another factor could be the focus lately by many homebuilders on higher-end developments, which tend to be larger than more-modest starter-home projects. Either way, it suggests that Americans’ appetite for a bug house didn’t go away in the downturn. It just took a breather.
It doesn’t look like their appetite for housing cars went away, either. Of the new houses built last year, 85 percent included a garage to fit at least two cars, an all-time high. More than one-fifth of homes—21 percent—included a garage for three of more cars, a figure that has doubled since the early 1990’s.
Original article by: The Sunday Journal (ABQ), with contributions from The Los Angeles Times