Bucking the trend: smaller homes
It’s a long way from 1973, when "single family" usually meant "single story." But numbers clearly show a dip in the size of new American houses.
After three decades of steadily expanding home sizes, the average area of a new house competed in the United States is down more than 80 square feet from its 2007 peak, according to statistics released recently by the Census Bureau. The average size of a house nationwide declined to 2,438 square feet in 2009. At its peak, the figure was 2,521 square feet.
In keeping with their slightly smaller size, new single-family homes completed in 2009 had fewer bedrooms than previously. After increasing for almost 20 years, the proportion of single-family homes with four bedrooms or more topped out at 39 percent in 2005; it was 34 percent last year. The proportion of single-family homes with three bedrooms increased from 49 percent to 53 percent between 2005 and 2009.
"We also saw a decline in the size of new homes when the economy lapsed into recession in the early 1980s," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The decline of the early 1980s turned out to be temporary, but this time the decline is related to phenomena such as an increased share of first-time home buyers, a desire to keep energy costs down, smaller amounts of equity in existing homes to roll into the next home, tighter credit standards and less focus on the investment component of buying a home. Many of these tendencies are likely to persist and continue affecting the new home market for an extended period."
New single-family homes completed last year also had fewer bathrooms than previously. The proportion of homes with three or more bathrooms was 24 percent last year, a decline from the peak of 28 percent in both 2007 and 2008. The percentage of single-family homes with two bathrooms increased from 35 to 37 last year, and the percentage with 2½ bathrooms was at 31 percent for the third consecutive year. The proportion of single-family homes with 1 or 1½ bathrooms has been below 10 percent for more than a decade.
In 1973, the first year for which the Census Bureau reports characteristics of single-family homes completed, most new single-family homes – 67 percent – had only one story. Twenty-three percent had two or more stories, and 10 percent were split levels. The average size of a house back then was 1,660 square feet.
Existing-home sales down slightly in May
Existing-home sales remained at an elevated level in May, despite a slight decrease to 5.66 million units.
The May numbers marked a decrease of 2.2% from an upwardly revised April figure of 5.79 million units. That current rate is also up 19.2% from the 4.75 million-unit pace in May of last year.
“We are witnessing the ongoing effects of the home buyer tax credit, which we’ll also see in June real estate closings,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “However, approximately 180,000 home buyers who signed a contract in good faith to receive the tax credit may not be able to finalize by the end of June due to delays in the mortgage process, particularly for short sales,” he said.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast dropped 18.3% to an annual pace of 890,000 homes in May but are 12.7% higher than a year ago. In the Midwest, sales remained flat at a pace of 1.33 million homes, but are up 22% from last year. The South saw a 0.5% increase in sales to a pace of 2.15 million in May, a 22.9% increase over last year. Existing-home sales in the West rose 4.9% to an annual rate of 1.29 million in May, and are 15.2% over last year’s figure.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $179,600 in May, according to the NAR, up 2.7% from May 2009. The NAR said distressed homes, which are typically sold at a 25% discount, slipped to 31% of last month’s sales, compared with 33% in April.
Dumond Chemicals names new CEO
New York-based Dumond Chemicals, maker of paint removal and stone and masonry cleaning products, appointed John Petroci as president and CEO, effective immediately.
Petroci is replacing Hy Dubin, who announced his retirement after serving as president and CEO of the company for 29 years.
“John brings the full compliment of skills in leadership, industry experience and market knowledge to the post,” said Dubin.
Petroci served as VP sales and marketing at Dumond since 2005.
Dumond Chemicals brands include Smart Strip, Safe’n Easy Stone & Masonry Care, Watchdog Graffiti Control Products, and Lead Stop, a lead abatement and encapsulating product.