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34 Comments Share NEW Portfolio Relevance LEARN MORE By Steve Kerch, MarketWatch ORLANDO, Fla. (MarketWatch) — While single-family housing starts and new-home sales sunk to their worst levels on record in 2011, home builders did manage to hit four record highs for the year.
After four years in which the average size of new homes built in the U.S. declined or remained steady, the average square footage of a new home started in 2011 jumped to a record 2,522 square feet in 2001, survey data from the National Association of Home Builders show.
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HOME VIDEO • Homeowner reoccupies foreclosed home • Where small houses are big sellers • How to get your house a TV makeover • Organize your small spaces • Kitchens that make cooking fun • Homes that help you as you age • Dream kitchen on a budget See the entire MarketWatch Guide to Real Estate In addition, a record-high 42% of new homes contained four or more bedrooms in 2011, up from 36% in 2010. Homes with three or more bathrooms also hit a record-high 28%, up from 23%. And 30% of new homes last year included a finished basement, also a record percentage, up from 26% in 2011. Finished basements count in the square footage of a home if finished by the builder.
The figures come from a survey of NAHB members and were released Thursday at the International Builders Show here.
The record highs, however, come with one big caveat: They are based on the smallest sample of new-home construction since the home builders and the U.S. Census Bureau began keeping such records. There were a record low 429,000 single-family housing starts in 2011.
“It’s really counterintuitive based on what we hear from consumers about the bad economy, the unemployment and the foreclosure problems,” said Rose Quint, the NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research economics and housing policy.