Wednesday, June 06, 2007

US housing: part of the problem

Over at Seattle Bubble, a public meeting in one Puget Sound city regarding housing issues yielded this comment from a citizen:
"Jim Lazar of Olympia, said that Americans need to reduce their expectations of “the American Dream.” He responded to statistics that Americans are building bigger homes while fewer can afford them. “I think we’ve got to get the American Dream under control,” he said. “We’ve created a culture that tells people to expect a 2,400-square-foot home as the American Dream.”

The US Census Department released a study recently which showed that US home sizes have been getting bigger:

“American homes are getting bigger — at least when measured by the number of bedrooms they have — according to a new analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In 2005, one in five occupied homes (20 percent) had four or more bedrooms, compared to 17.7 percent in 2000.”
Maybe that’s a blinding flash of the obvious when you drive around new developments, but it’s good to see some hard data to back up what you think you are seeing.

Ironically, at the same time, the number of people per household in the US is shrinking per the Census Department: “Average household size in 2006 was 2.57 people, down from 3.14 in 1970.” So families are shrinking, but their houses are getting bigger. Something about that doesn’t compute.


Robert said...

Home office is almost always counted as a bedroom. A larger portion of the average household are single parents or live-in adults, so 2 of them are not sharing a room.

Not all of the difference, but significant.

Scott said...

Your point about home offices is a good one. Particularly in the homebuilding industry, small builders and contractors tend to have an office at their home. The same could probably said of realtors, especially all of them that entered the field in the last five years.