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New housing data from the Census Bureau
Old 06-03-2014, 09:04 AM   #1
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New housing data from the Census Bureau

The Census Bureau published some housing data yesterday and a new milestone was reached. The median size of a new house is 2384 square feet. The previous high was 2277 sf, back in 2007, and way back in 1973 when my folks were home buyers the median size was 1525 sf. Housing is a good an indicator of standard of living, and this shows that despite all the naysayers the standard is still improving in the US.

Here's a neat infographic from the Census Bureau New Single-Family Homes in 2013 this is their main page for housing data Characteristics of New Housing and here is a good summary from WonkBlog The housing crash did nothing to tamp our appetite for enormous houses
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:07 AM   #2
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The median size of a new house is 2384 square feet.
I knew if I lived long enough I'd evenutally be average median.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:32 AM   #3
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The Census Bureau published some housing data yesterday and a new milestone was reached. The median size of a new house is 2384 square feet. The previous high was 2277 sf, back in 2007, and way back in 1973 when my folks were home buyers the median size was 1525 sf....
I don't know if this is on the Freakonomics guys' radar, but this nicely supports my theory that we increase in size to match our environment: big houses, big cars (minivans, SUVs, pickup trucks), big people. Coincidence? Hmmmm.

Not to mention the Big Gulp, born in 1980.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
The Census Bureau published some housing data yesterday and a new milestone was reached. The median size of a new house is 2384 square feet. The previous high was 2277 sf, back in 2007, and way back in 1973 when my folks were home buyers the median size was 1525 sf. Housing is a good an indicator of standard of living, and this shows that despite all the naysayers the standard is still improving in the US.

Here's a neat infographic from the Census Bureau New Single-Family Homes in 2013 this is their main page for housing data Characteristics of New Housing and here is a good summary from WonkBlog The housing crash did nothing to tamp our appetite for enormous houses
Fascinating!

I still remember that back in the 1950's, most houses seemed to have just one bathroom. Now, new houses mostly seem to have at least two, or even more. That is a HUGE improvement for most families.

Edited to add: My hypothesis is that it is harder to get mortgages than it once was, but that the (few) mortgages granted are larger than they once were. But then, that is just a guess. I have no idea.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:32 AM   #5
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That surprises me, disappointed to be truthful. I remember hearing average home size was dropping after the '08 recession, and that the 'McMansion era was over,' good riddance IMO. But that's clearly not the case after all. It appears the collective "we" may not have fully learned to appreciate living within our means. Which led me to search for the chart below, another strike against common sense LBYM evidently. Doesn't bode well for any of us.

Guess the income inequality debate may be exaggerated as well?

We're now happily below average home size, and plan to downsize further with our next move.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:38 AM   #6
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... this shows that despite all the naysayers the standard is still improving in the US...
... even if we will have to eat cat food larvae in order to free up cash to pay for the McMansion.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:29 AM   #7
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I'm sure the one thing that is way above the average/median with new home construction is the income of those building and buying them.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
That surprises me, disappointed to be truthful. I remember hearing average home size was dropping after the '08 recession, and that the 'McMansion era was over,' good riddance IMO. But that's clearly not the case after all. It appears the collective "we" may not have fully learned to appreciate living within our means. Which led me to search for the chart below, another strike against common sense LBYM evidently. Doesn't bode well for any of us.

Guess the income inequality debate may be exaggerated as well?

We're now happily below average home size, and plan to downsize further with our next move.
+1
Very surprising, considering 1 in 8 males between the ages of 25-54 isn't working, the median income in this country is $25K, average household income is $50K, average retirement account is less than $100K, among other statistics too numerous to mention. It appears the middle class has learned nothing from the recent economic meltdown and I agree that this doesn't bode well for the rest of us.

I, too, am happily below the "average" home and plan to downsize further for the next move.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:16 PM   #9
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Meanwhile, half of Americans can’t afford their house:

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Over half of Americans (52%) have had to make at least one major sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage over the last three years, according to the “How Housing Matters Survey,” which was commissioned by the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and carried out by Hart Research Associates. These sacrifices include getting a second job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on health care, running up credit card debt, or even moving to a less safe neighborhood or one with worse schools.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:36 PM   #10
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So "we" are building a house of cards again...wonderful.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:42 PM   #11
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People's collective memory is getting shorter. Society is suffering more from ADHD. All we can do is to protect ourselves, and if you are gutsy, even to profit.

In the period of 2003-2007, I had good gains on housing related stocks such as steel and cement producers. These are still not doing that well, so we are nowhere in a bubble.

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Old 06-03-2014, 01:45 PM   #12
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Which led me to search for the chart below, another strike against common sense LBYM evidently. Doesn't bode well for any of us.
Well, it depends on which "us" you're referring to - the U.S. population, or the er.org members. It bodes pretty well for the latter since all those working people will keep SS solvent.

We're well below average house size too.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:49 PM   #13
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I don't know if this is on the Freakonomics guys' radar, but this nicely supports my theory that we increase in size to match our environment: big houses, big cars (minivans, SUVs, pickup trucks), big people. Coincidence? Hmmmm.

Not to mention the Big Gulp, born in 1980.
The bigger, the better, didn't you know?
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
I don't know if this is on the Freakonomics guys' radar, but this nicely supports my theory that we increase in size to match our environment: big houses, big cars (minivans, SUVs, pickup trucks), big people. Coincidence? Hmmmm.

Not to mention the Big Gulp, born in 1980.
No, all the jokes aside, It's no coincidence IMO...
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:11 PM   #15
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Excellent link.

There's a big difference between the new housing being built and purchased in 2014 vs 2007, because credit today is being extended to people that can afford it. Definitely not the case 7 years ago. 10% of mortgages (from back then) are still underwater and another 20% have little or no equity. That'll take a few more years to work off.

New housing today is being built at half the rate of 10 years ago, so this is no sign of a new wave of overextending . Is it wasteful? Probably yes, but who cares how others spend their money? The median sf is probably overstated because the mix has a greater weighting of upper income people compared with past periods and will trend lower as more lower priced housing enters the mix.

New single family housing construction is slowing but milti-family is picking up. If this means that more lower income people are renting and only higher income folks are buying, that's a sign that people are showing greater financial responsibility.
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:55 PM   #16
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New single family housing construction is slowing but milti-family is picking up. If this means that more lower income people are renting and only higher income folks are buying, that's a sign that people are showing greater financial responsibility.
I'd be more encouraged if not for the personal savings rate trend (different x-axis than earlier attachment) which I searched for as a result of this thread.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:44 PM   #17
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I'd be more encouraged if not for the personal savings rate trend (different x-axis than earlier attachment) which I searched for as a result of this thread.
I get your point. Still, a higher savings rate means less current consumption, which usually has a deflationary impact, which is generally not a good thing.

To paraphrase St Augustine, Give us thrift, but do not give it to us yet?
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:47 PM   #18
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I think the lower end of the housing market is increasingly rentals, which weights actual home sales to the higher end of the spectrum.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:57 PM   #19
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Home sales price to income ratios in our zip code are now about 7 to 1 with multiple offers and an average of 20% down. Is that really a sustainable ratio long term? That is a pretty big percent of income for families buying in the current market to spend just on housing alone.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:58 PM   #20
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I get your point. Still, a higher savings rate means less current consumption, which usually has a deflationary impact, which is generally not a good thing.

To paraphrase St Augustine, Give us thrift, but do not give it to us yet?
St Augustine: "Better to have fewer wants than greater riches to supply increasing wants."
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