New US Single-Family Spec Home Lot Sizes Continued to Shrink in 2022

According to the US Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Construction (SOC), with further analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 42% of new single-family detached homes sold in 2022 were built on lots under 7,000 square feet, or less than 0.16 of an acre. This is the highest share on record and mirrors the stark changes in lot size distribution since the Census Bureau started tracking these series over 20 years ago, when just 28% of new for-sale single-family detached homes were occupying lots of that size.

The NAHB says that the shift in spec home building toward smaller lots continued despite the pandemic-triggered flight to the suburbs for more space and clearly reflects the shortage of lots being confronted by homebuilders during the pandemic housing boom, as well as their attempts to make new homes more affordable.

The NAHB points out that while the nation’s production of spec homes shifts towards smaller lots, the regional differences in lot sizes continues. Looking at single-family detached spec homes started in 2022, the median lot size by region is as follows:

  • New England is 2.5 times larger than the national median, with half being built on a half-acre.
  • The Mid Atlantic and East South-Central divisions were next with the median lot occupying just under a third of an acre.
  • The West South-Central division stands out for starting half of single-family detached spec homes on lots under 0.16 acres. This is significantly lower than the typical lots in the neighboring East South-Central division where half of the lots exceed 0.29 acres.
  • The Mountain division also reports typical lot size smaller than 0.16 acres.
  • In the Pacific division, densities are high and developed land is scarce. The division has the smallest lot size, with half of the lots being 0.14 acres.

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