Study: As American Homes Get Bigger, Apartments Shrink

Split image featuring a big single-family home and a four-story apartment building
Single-family homes are getting bigger, but apartments are getting smaller, according to a new study. (DepositPhotos)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our houses have taken additional roles as places of work, learning and exercising. But how many of us actually have a home big enough to comfortably support these activities?

A new report from STORAGECafé, a self-storage search website, investigates where people are the luckiest when it comes to living space. The study shows how the average size of newly built American homes has evolved during the past decade.

Beautiful, luxurious bedroom with an upholstered headboard and a chandelier
More single-family homes have three or four-plus bedrooms, making them more adaptable during the pandemic. (DepositPhotos)

Single-Family Homes Have More Bedrooms

Single-family house dwellers will find it much easier to adapt to the new working-from-home reality than apartment dwellers.

The average size of a single-family residence built in 2019 in the U.S. was 2,611 square feet, according to U.S. Census Data. That’s 143 square feet more than in 2010.

New apartments, on the other hand, followed an opposite trend, losing about 90 square feet from 2010 to 2019. New apartments built in 2010 encompassed 1,245 square feet on average, while 2019-built units only ticked 1,156 square feet.

Bedroom distribution also indicates a preference for big-home living with three and four-plus bedrooms making up the staggering majority of new single-family construction (89%).

The proportion of new single-family residences with four or more bedrooms increased from 35% in 2010 to 43% in 2019.

StorageCafe graphic featuring statistics on big homes and small apartments

While this may be good news if you can afford a big house, this trend also indicates there might be a lack of starter homes for young families who remain renters for longer.

Cramped apartment building in Seattle
Seattle apartment dwellers have tight space, according to the study. (DepositPhotos)

Big Homes in Chicago, Small Seattle Apartments

Among the country’s top 20 biggest cities, Chicago ranks first in the size of newly built houses. The average size of a house built there in 2019 was 3,300 square feet. These houses are 916 square feet bigger than ones constructed in 2010.

Denver is building the smallest houses among the 20 cities. The average size of a single-family home built there in 2019 was 2,056 square feet, almost 200 smaller than homes built in 2010.

Jacksonville enjoys the largest new apartments — 987 square feet in 2019. However, it’s on a downward trend and 93 square feet smaller than its homes built in 2010.

Seattle apartment dwellers are pressed for space, with 2019 apartments having an average size of 676 square feet, 86 smaller than homes built in 2010.

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