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November 2017

Lot size reaches new record low

NAHB logoThe median-sized lot for a single-family detached home that sold in 2016 shrunk to 8,562 square feet, a new record low. In 1992, it was around 10,000 square feet according to the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction (SOC).

Census data show the median lot size fell under 8,600 square feet for the first time in 2015.

In its Eye on Housing report, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), noted regional differences in lot sizes persist even as the nation's lots are being downsized.

The Pacific division comprising Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii, has the smallest lots, which NAHB attributes to high densities and a scarce supply of developed land. About half the lots are under 0.15 acres. Both the Mountain and West South Central divisions also report lot sizes that are smaller than the national median.

In New England, which is known for strict local zoning regulations that often require very low densities, more than half the single-family spec homes started there are on lots measuring more than a third of an acre (0.37 acres), almost double the national median.

Natalia Siniavskaia, assistant VP, Housing Policy Research at NAHB reported custom homes on an owner's land tend to have larger lots. SOC reports show the median lot size for custom single-family detached homes started in 2016 exceeds one acre (1.08 acres).

NAH Median Lot Size map