Home Sizes on the Rise in the Triangle
“Go big or go home” seems to be the motto and latest trend in the national housing market, especially in the Triangle, where the urge to downsize the home seems to be subsiding.
In the area, the average size of a new home built in 2013 has climbed 147 square feet in the past 8 years, reaching 2,526 square feet from the average of 2,379 in 2005. Because of the existence of a buyers’ market, the average new home price in the Triangle may have dropped 9% to $264,570 in 2009 from $290,018 in 2008, the average square footage from a new home dropped only 3%.
Increasingly in recent months, builders in the Triangle have seen buyers making up for lost time. This may be because younger buyers are skipping the starter home and going straight from renting an apartment into a larger, move-up type home.
Buyers in the younger generation aren’t the only ones who want bigger. Retirees are demanding more square footage, as well, even as they are downsizing.
Research shows that economics have a lot to do with the shift to larger home sizes. Homebuyers typically buy as much home as they can afford, which is influenced by interest rates, household income and credit scores, and affluent buyers have been more numerous in the market. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the share of new homes that have at least 4 bedrooms has also been on an upward trend nationally, rising from 34% in 2009 to 48% in 2013.
The median income of new-home buyers has climbed from $91,768 in 2005 to $107,607 in 2011, and during the same period the number of new home sales has dramatically declined, from 1.28 million to 306,000.
And things will only continue to get better for the market as the economy improves. In North Carolina, the unemployment rate for young adults ages 20 to 25 is over 12%, so as that demographic finds employment and purchase homes, the Triangle will see smaller lower priced homes reemerge as influencers in market dynamics.