Home sizes in the U.S. are declining. Is it because of recession, energy conservation or an aging population that wants to spend less time caring for homes?

The average square footage for new homes in the United States dropped signficantly in 2009 for the first time in nearly 30 years, according to figures just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

New homes in 2009 averaged 2,438 square feet, down from 2,519 square feet in 2008. The average peaked in 2007 at 2,521 square feet. American house sizes have been trending upward since averages were first calculated in 1973, when homes were an average of 1,660 square feet.

The Census figures show the trend in smaller homes visible in other ways. Only 36 percent of new homes in 2009 had four or more bedrooms, down from 40 percent the previous years and the lowest percentage since 1997. And, the number of single-story homes increased from 44 percent to 47 percent.

These trends seem to be confirmed at our Newport Cove waterfront community on the Chain O’ Lakes near Antioch where customer “hot buttons” are moving toward the quality rather than quantity of space, fewer bedrooms, ranch-style homes or – at minimum – first-floor masters, easy-care materials and energy-conserving construction.

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