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Americans like lots of room. A century or two ago they found it by moving West like Davey Crockett. Now they make more room for themselves by pushing the foundations of their houses ever closer to their lot lines.
Yes, houses keep getting bigger. Thus, more expensive. Thus, less affordable. And thus, more likely to be lost to foreclosure. (Sorry for being sour here.)
In June the Census Bureau issued its annual report on characteristics of housing built in 2006. Here are some of the amazing stats:
57% of homes built last year are two stories or more, vs. 23% of them in 1973.
The average single-family house completed had 2,469 square feet, 769 more square feet than in 1976.
39% of new single-family homes completed have four or more bedrooms, almost double the rate of just 20 years ago.
26% of new single-family homes sold have 3 or more bathrooms, almost triple the rate from 1986.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.