Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 23, 2016

Lot size and what it means to the home buyer

Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

Chris Mabee

The gridiron of American football is a battleground where strength, speed, and endurance are measured. It also provides a nifty frame of reference for a variety of other measurements, including the size of land on which today’s new homes are built. Interestingly, these lots are getting smaller and smaller.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median lot size for new single-family detached homes in 2015 was less than one-fifth of an acre – the smallest on record. Using a football field as our measuring stick, just 5.6 of those lots would fit between the goal lines.

But not all regions of the country are equal when it comes to the size of lots. New England typically has much larger lots than other areas due to its population density regulations. But in other regions, median lots range from .15 acres to .30 acres. The median lot size here in the East South Central Region, which includes Tennessee, is 0.30 acres.

Focused on features

Though lots are reportedly getting smaller, one could argue that it’s not their size that matters most but the features within those structures.

So what are today’s homes most sought after features? That usually depends on the buyer. A recent survey from National Association of Home Builders compared the preferences of different age groups and found that older generations tend to look for single-story, smaller homes (under 1,900 square feet), while the younger generations lean more strongly toward two-story, larger homes (at least 2,300 square feet).

Regardless of age, buyers consider many of the same amenities to be either desirable or essential. The list of the most popular amenities includes Energy Star-rated windows and appliances, a full bathroom on the main level, and exterior lighting. Topping the list as the single most-wanted feature in a home: a designated laundry room.

Desirable communities

When it comes to the features of the surrounding neighborhood, most of the home buyers reported the same amenities at or near the top of their most-wanted lists: a community that’s typically suburban, with close proximity to a park area, and has access to walking trails. Most also want to be in a community near retail locations.

For more information on building trends and the availability of new residential construction in Chattanooga and the surrounding area, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at (423) 624-9992 or visit www.hbagc.net.