Real estate

The way we live now is bigger

Sep. 9, 2011 at 7:48 AM ET

Matt York / AP /
Builders frame a new home in Queen Creek, Ariz., this summer.

Housing bust or not, we’re still living a lot larger than the previous generation.

Although average new home sizes have shrunk a bit since the housing bust and recession, a new home built in 2010 was still more than 650 square feet larger than in 1980.

That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which recently released a slew of fascinating facts about new homes built in 2010.

According to the data, the average new, single-family home built in 2010 was 2,392 square feet. That’s down somewhat from a McMansion-inflated high of 2,521 square feet in 2007, but still up significantly from three decades ago.

In 1980, the average new home was just 1,740 square feet, according to the Census.

Our homes also have gotten a lot more comfortable. For example, in 1980, 63 percent of new homes had central air conditioning. Last year, 88 percent of them did.

In 1980, more than one-quarter of all homes built had 1.5 bathrooms or less. Last year, just 8 percent of houses had such a small number of bathrooms.

Of course, the housing bust has put a damper on more than just square footage. The average sales price of new home sold in 2010 was $272,900, down from a high of $313,600 in 2007.

In addition, new home sales appear to be in a rut. The Commerce Department reported that new home sales fell to an annual rate 298,000 units in July, compared with more than 1 million as recently as 2006.

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