Housing Pattern Changes in the Last Decade

I think we’ve all seen how housing patterns have been changing over the years, but now we know just how much. The latest American Housing survey was just released by the Census Bureau and Department of Housing & Urban Development. Published every two years, the exhaustive analysis examines just about every aspect of American home life for both renters and homeowners. So what has changed over the last ten years?

  • Amenities – Fireplaces, decks and garages are more likely to be in homes now than 10 years ago.
  • Safety – More emphasis is now placed on having smoke detectors and keeping them stocked with fresh batteries regularly, carbon monoxide detectors and sprinkler systems.
  • Size – The latest survey showed a 4% increase in the number of homes with 4+ bedrooms, with the median house size growing to 1800 sq./ft. There was also a 9% increase in the number of houses with 2+ bathrooms. That growth has stabilized with the continued housing crisis, with people seeming to return to smaller, more livable-sized houses.
  • Cost – The median amount homeowners paid for their house (mortgage, taxes, utilities, insurance) rose over $400, with renters paying over $225 more.
  • Aesthetics – neighborhoods are getting prettier, and people are paying more attention to the aesthetics of their neighborhood.
  • Debt – The amount of debt has been on the rise. The median purchase price for a U.S. home in 1999 was $62,823. In 2009, it was $107,500. In 1999, the median outstanding principal owed by home borrowers was $64,762 and just 0.9% of those owners were carrying a mortgage debt of $300,000+. In 2009, the median outstanding principal was $106,909, with 6% of owners owing $300,000+ on their homes.
  • Age – the median age of our houses now is 34 years old, up from 30 years a decade ago. The number of pre-1919 owned homes was down from 7.6% to just 6.2%.
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