Thursday, March 29, 2007

Buyers Choose Better Quality Over Bigger Space

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The decades-long explosion in residential square footage may be coming to an end, says Gopal Ahluwalia, the National Association of Home Builder’s vice president for research. Although the size of the average home has been on the rise, to 2,495 last year from 1,500 square feet in 1973, consumers are beginning to choosse higher quality living spaces over additional square footage, according to Ahluwalia, who spoke at the recent International Builders Show in Orlando, Fla. The curious thing is that while average size of new homes has increased by about 1,000 square feet or 66% in 33 years, the average household size has been dropping from 3.01 in 1973 to 2.58 in 2006. This means that the percapita square footage in new homes has increased from 498 square feet per person in 1973 to 967 square feet per person in 2006. That is a whopping 94% increase in area per person. No wonder more and more households are finding new homes to be less and less affordable.

Architects, designers, manufacturers, and marketing experts who were asked by NAHB about their expectations for future homes agreed that home size would slip into the 2,300- to 2,500-square-foot range by 2015. NAHB says that two-story homes will continue to dominate as increasing construction costs drive choices. “As housing prices go up, so too does the share of two-story homes goes up says Ahluwalia, noting that two story construction is less expensive than one story on a square-foot basis. U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 55 percent of the homes built in 2005 had two or more stories.

Not only is the two story house more affordable, but two story homes make a great deal of sense for the narrower lots in new traditional neighborhoods. Many of the most attractive homes in new urban communities are two stories. TND architects and home builders have created many attractive and functional two story plans for homes with rear facing garages that permit parking access from rear alleys.

So the key to affordability is a smaller home that is also built efficiently. Two story homes are just the ticket. That is why you see so many of them in the new traditional neighborhoods being built by the new urban TND town founders across the country.

Be sure to visit the website for Omaha's first new traditional neighborhood:

Click here to see the site plan :

Go here to see examples of two story homes and how they work in the new tradtional neighborhood.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Your New Urban Factoid of the Day

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Since 1995, the U.S. population has grown by 12 percent while the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has grown by 24 percent . . .

but transit use is up by 30 percent to 10.1 billion trips for the first time in 49 years.

Discuss . . . .

Source: The American Public Transportation Association