While the trend of tiny homes has captivated the public's imagination of late, market demand for large homes never really fades away.
Many builders have been targeting move-up buyers to offset high labor and construction costs in the wake of the recession, and have priced out entry-level buyers as a result. A recent analysis by NAHB found that the median size of new single-family homes reached 2,450 square feet in 2014, the second-largest tally since 2009.
Pinpointing specific markets where big homes are most prominent would be valuable to builders, but the report from NAHB's Eye on Housing blog last week only offers a brief glimpse into square footage trends in broad regional areas.
So, we've mashed up 2015 home-closing data from Metrostudy with the NAHB report to provide a more up-to-date and drilled-down look at big-home markets. Within each of the nine regions, we've identified five markets (at the MSA level) with the largest median square footage. For consistency with NAHB, we've only include data from single-family new home closings.
This interactive graphic below showcases the 45 markets where big homes are most popular, and can serve as a guide for builders looking to target move-up and luxury home buyers.
Buyers of big homes are primarily concentrated on the East Coast, where eight out of 10 top markets of our list are located. Among all, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area—over the border of District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, and even out to West Virginia—is the hottest market for big-sized homes, with a median size of 4,053 square feet. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. comes in second with a 3,548-square-feet median home size.
These top two markets don't come as much of a surprise, given that they are primarily bedroom communities for professionals working in the core of D.C. or Baltimore. The next biggest metros for big homes are Ithaca, N.Y. and Reading, Pa., of Middle Atlantic, as well as Angola, Ind., of East North Central, with a median of 3,531, 3,500, and 3,500 square feet, respectively.
In addition, Morehead City, N.C., Torrington, Conn., San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, and Brookhaven, Miss. are the largest big-home markets in their respective regions, all with medians above 3,000 square feet.
Stay tuned next week, when we'll highlight the top five markets within each region (and the top 10 builders dominating closings) for new homes under 1,000 sq. ft. To see the complete data for our interactive map above, view the Google Sheet >>