The U.S. Census Bureau‘s 2017 research paper, Characteristics of New Housing, stated that the average size home size was 2,631 square feet, which is down from the record high in 2015 of 2,687 feet.
While still waiting to see what the post-pandemic world will do to this average size, we can assume a few things.
One of the significant points to consider is most Americans experienced stay-at-home orders. And this has changed the status quo.
Before we explore the usual elements that contribute to the average home size, let’s investigate new normal trends.
New Normal Habits
Many Americans who were able to adjust to working remotely will now be resorting to a mixed working environment routine.
Twenty-two percent of the workforce in America will still be working remotely by 2025.
So working from home will affect the average home size in the future.
While some homeowners will have to adapt areas of their newly purchased, pre-owned home for office space, those building from scratch will need to work out how much room they need for this working space, or they will need to design custom spaces.
Another habit that has changed over the years is the average household size. According to the most recent United States Census, the average household size in the USA is around 2.6 people.
Compared to families in the 1970s (around 3.01 persons per household in 1973), current family sizes are smaller.
Also, 65% of homes in America have a garage accommodating two bays, according to the last census (2010). But with skyrocketing gas prices and working from home, families could be willing to share a family vehicle.
But what if you’re not the ordinary 2.6 people in an American household? How do you calculate the rough size of the house you need for your family?
Working Out How Big to Build a House
Several factors will affect your next home’s size. But budget is the most significant determining factor.
Generalized Square Foot Calculation
If you can build your dream home on a plot of land you’ve just purchased, you might be wondering how large your plans should be.
As you’d imagine, the price has increased, but according Rocket Mortgage, the average cost per square foot in a new house build is $150.
If we work out the average cost for a home of around 2,631 square feet at $150 per square foot, the total cost would be $395,000, rounding upwards.
But what if you’re interested in purchasing a pre-existing home?
In Hawaii, the state with the highest, median-priced home, your average pre-owned house will set you back a staggering $615,300. In Mississippi, the state with the lowest, median-priced home, you’ll pay $119,000.
The difference between the prices of homes in Hawaii and Mississippi means that the average median price for American homes is around $428,700. And depending on the source, it can vary more, as they use other sales dates.
For our clients in Florida, the median home price is $215,300.
If you are planning on building your own dream house, you might want to plan how to get the most out of the space.
Planning For Your Family
As mentioned before, the average American home is occupied by 2.6 people and is 2,631 square feet, which works out at roughly 1,000 square feet per person in the average home.
But generally speaking, many experts say that most individuals living in a home only require around 600 – 700 square feet.
Another homeowning trend is that many houses are multigenerational homes, with room required for grandparents.
Sharing this space also means that parents can go about earning a living, and the grandparents can assist with looking after the children.
So, planning for around 600 – 700 square feet per person is the way forward for your home situation.
When building your home, one central element to remember is where the furniture you own will fit. Buying brand-new furniture to fit your new spaces just adds to an already tight budget.
Making plans to build a home to accommodate all these items can balance the overall budget for the building and the number of individuals staying in the house.
However, trends in the home buying market revealed that buyers wanted flexible spaces in their homes. One desirable option was high ceilings, which are a must if you want to fit in old cabinets.
But, what are the typical room sizes for the average American home?
While we’ve said that most Americans will require between 600 and 1000 square feet each, the truth is that everyone has their own requirements for how this space is shared.
Most realtors will say that the kitchen is the most crucial room in any home.
They also put a lot of focus on the master bedroom, which has been highlighted as a vital space. After all, the heads of the home have to have their privacy.
According to FIXR, the division of rooms is broken down as follows:
- Master bedroom – 12% (300 square feet)
- Other average bedrooms – 16% (432 square feet)
- Master bathroom – 6% (154 square feet)
- Kitchen – 12% (300 square feet)
- Dining room – 8% (192 square feet)
- Family (great) room – 12% (296 square feet)
- Living room – 9% (223 square feet)
This list gives us a home size of 1,897 square feet.
That leaves 734 square feet to play with if we take our original average of 2,631 square feet.
This will need to be divided out into additional rooms like the basement, pantry, laundry room, foyer, and more.
Everyone can agree on the fact there’s never enough storage. Renting storage spaces in this economy can be a financial burden. And if you are merging families, storage on the property will be critical.
Nothing will divide two merging families more than having to discard their beloved items. This being said, too much storage will result in hosting annual yard sales.
But like the size of other home areas, make sure to plan for equal room for everyone in the household.
Area And Passive Income Potential
Where you select to build your future home matters. There are multiple facets at hand, namely the following:
- Tourist attractions
- Work opportunities
No matter what home you design and build, it will be for nothing if it is in the wrong location.
Always ensure that you do your research about potential developments in the area, whether a new interstate is being built out of town, or a new national airport or conference center in town.
Location and area will also determine how large your plot of land and your potential home will be. If you’re building on a property in Hawaii or Mississippi, there will be a significant difference in size.
Another factor in building a new home in the area is creating rooms for passive income, like Airbnb. The average earning in 2021 in Hawaii was $73,247. So depending on your state, putting aside room for rentals might be worth it.
Now that we’ve gone through elements to consider, let’s go through the checklist.
Checklist for How Big Your Home Should Be
It might seem silly, but we can get caught up in the excitement and forget items/space/rooms when designing a home. Make sure to go through the checklist, which includes the following:
- How many bedrooms do we/I need?
- How many bathrooms do we/I need?
- Do we need a large master bedroom and bathroom?
- What is the size of the kitchen and what functions does it need to fulfill?
- What size does the living room need to be?
- Dining room? Or any other specialty spaces?
- Storage room, how big?
But what if you’re looking at just establishing a new starter home without a large family? Should you design a tiny house?
Tiny Home vs. Average Home
As homes are projected to get bigger in the U.S., the alternative is going smaller.
After all, more significant properties come with higher heating and A.C. costs, taxes, and upkeep costs.
Meanwhile, smaller homes will allow you to purchase plots in more affluent areas and cut down on utility bills and taxes. Not to mention they cost less in upkeep.
If you are going smaller, you will need to design all your spaces for dual purposes, unlike designing for larger homes.
But the major issue is that there’s no substitute for space. This means you’ll need to come to grips with cluttered areas, limited family space, and no privacy.
While more and more Americans are taking up the mobile home or camper van trend, we’d say that building an average home in the USA makes more sense.
These averages occur because of the requirements of the time. Looking at homes from previous decades and you’ll be surprised what they decided to prioritize instead of a larger laundry room. Just remember the days before open plan.
But if you’re looking to design a home beyond the norm, maybe it’s time to chat.
What to Do After Learning the Average Home Size
The first step is to rope in a trusted design agency, like MJS Designers Group. At MJS Designers Group, we believe every custom home design is art you’ll treasure daily. Our designers ensure we pour passion and the highest levels of craftsmanship into every project of every size.
It is our commitment to design that will ensure your average-sized home is anything but normal. Rather, that it is exceptional. If you’re ready to design your next home, contact us today.