The average size of a new American house shrank 100 square feet in 2009 as new homebuyers start opting for efficient over extravagant.
Homebuyer preferences are moving in a smaller and greener direction, according to new research from the National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes and Gardens.
Driven largely by the bubble in the housing market, the slumping economy has ended the long upward trend in the size of new homes in the United States--at least for now.
"The average new home size actually declined in 2009," said NAHB economics researcher, Rose Quint, at the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas last month. "There has been almost 30 years of growth in the size of homes."
According to the research, new house starts in 2009 that were not yet finished by the end of the year were even smaller, the median size of these homes fell further, to 2,094 square feet.
But its not just that the average size of a new American house is smaller, it is also becoming more efficient.
Up to a quarter of all new homes built last year received an Energy Star rating, which means they met the guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, up from 11 percent in 2007. And with 30% federal tax credits for consumer energy efficiency on everything from energy efficient windows, doors, and roofing materials, to high efficiency biomass stoves, HVAC systems and geothermal heat pumps, there are lots of strong economic incentives to opt for the efficiency investment.
Only time will tell if this upward trend in new average home sizes is finally over, or if it will return after the economy rebounds and credit markets right themselves.