Fla. Yards 6th Smallest in U.S. as Lots Shrink
By Sam Sachs
HouseMethod: Fla. yards average about 11,043 square feet per home, less than half of U.S. average lot size of 25,240 square feet. Meanwhile homes are getting bigger.
TAMPA, Fla. – The average size of a lot, meaning house and yard, in the United States is 25,240 square feet, according to a study of homeownership and land use by HouseMethod, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Florida’s yard sizes are among the smallest in the U.S., less than half of the national average.
Through the company’s analysis of federal data and real estate listings, HouseMethod found that Florida had the sixth-smallest yards in the U.S., with yards averaging roughly 11,000 square feet per home. Alaska, by comparison, has yards that average over 200,000 square feet, according to the company’s data.
The U.S. Central Bank has noted a decrease in yard sizes and increase in home sizes since at least 2017. The Federal Reserve described the trend then as “larger houses built on smaller lots.” Their data said the lot size had shrunk by 20% in 2014, while home sizes grew 50%.
Yards in Texas average 14,786 square feet, according to HouseMethod, while Florida’s average 11,043. With the housing market still in flux from the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on migration between states, buyers are faced with a choice: larger homes or larger yards.
“After conducting our study, two states stood out to us – Florida and Texas. In recent years, these two states have seen some of the highest numbers of movers relocating to them,” HouseMethod said. “As such, you might expect them to have larger yards, especially since Texas is known as the ‘private land state.’”
Real estate company RocketMortgage reported in August that the average square footage of a house in America was 2,301 square feet, as of 2019 – the time when the data is most recent. RocketMortgage said part of the change in housing sizes, which had grown from 1,660 square feet in 1973 to 2,687 square feet in 2015 before dropping, was partly due to zoning laws that had minimum size requirements, depending on the size of the lot.
Additionally, a change in buyer philosophy may have contributed to the size differences.
“Americans stopped thinking of houses as homes and started to think of them as investment opportunities,” RocketMortgage said. “The thinking went that the larger the home, the greater its resale potential.”
Census Bureau data shows how housing construction trends played out in 2021. The bureau reported that, of the 970,000 single-family homes completed in 2021:
* 927,000 had air-conditioning.
* 93,000 had two bedrooms or less and 444,000 had four bedrooms or more.
* 27,000 had one and one-half bathrooms or less and 320,000 homes had three or more bathrooms.
* 369,000 had a heat pump. Of these, 361,000 were air-source and 8,000 were ground-source.
* 895,000 were framed in wood and 71,000 were framed using concrete.
* 330,000 had a patio and a porch, while 87,000 had no outdoor features.
The median size of a completed single-family house was 2,273 square feet. The Federal Reserve reports the median size of homes in the U.S. is currently 1,890 square feet as of August.
“House size has been increasing and lot size decreasing in counties with expensive and inexpensive properties, with high- and low-income residents, with dense and sparse populations, and with different age compositions in essentially all regions of the United States,” the Federal Reserve said in 2017.
According to an additional data set from the U.S. Federal Reserve, yard sizes have shrunk year by year, almost every year, since the 1800s. With some exceptions, the lot sizes have continued to decrease, with record lows in 2019, according to the HouseMethod analysis.
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