Houses not growing all that quickly

It’s a truism that American houses are growing to be elephantine; many articles on McMansions point out that the average new house in America has grown in size by 46.63% since 1973. Yet the story isn’t that simple: in fact, house sizes in recent years have grown at below trend — little more than 1% a year, a big slowdown from the mid-1980s. Also, the size of multifamily apartments is reported separately and in a different fashion (in size brackets rather than exact numbers), which makes it impossible to figure out how average new dwelling sizes are changing as multifamily grows as a share of American housing starts.

|year|size|% growth*|

Note: Size is in square feet, average for new construction. Source: U.S. Census, “data set C25”: Sample was readjusted in 2005, with the effect of tilting sample towards Sunbelt, so results are not directly comparable to earlier years.

% growth: annualized rate, over past three years.