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Contractors React to Housing Market Demands


When homebuyers look for their forever home, they often have a long list of amenities they want included in the house – an updated kitchen, a big backyard and enough bedrooms for their family, for example.

Today’s new homes are accommodating these many wants – such as central air or more bathrooms –  and as a result, are getting larger and pricier. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median home built in 2015 was 2,467 square feet. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that this is 11 percent bigger than homes built in 2005 and 61 percent bigger than homes built in 1975.

Of the 648,000 homes built last year, 92.6 percent had air conditioning, 43.5 percent had at least four bedrooms and 38 percent had at least three bathrooms.

There are many drivers of change in the housing and home construction industry. One of the most impactful, of course, is the economy. However, it might seem counterintuitive that, just as the real estate market experienced a downturn during the Great Recession and many people lost their jobs and homes, new houses began to increase in size and amenities. But Construction Dive pointed out that this trend actually makes sense.

Home Size Goes Up

The Great Recession did impact the home construction industry in a negative way. In 2005, 1,636,000 homes were built – 988,000 more than in 2015. Just over 40 percent of these homes were bigger than 2,400 square feet, or a total of 687,000. A decade later, in the wake of the recession, just 342,000 new homes were smaller than this size, equating to 53 percent. With fewer homes being built, the percentage of bigger homes grew, even though the actual number of larger homes went down.

But why didn’t the percentage of larger homes stay consistent with the drop in construction? The answer to that lies in the dynamics of the average home buyer. Construction Dive pointed out that, over the past decade, the majority of foreclosed homes were smaller. This means the small home market was not in need of new construction because there was such an influx of existing small homes available to buyers.

Plus, those who were in the market for a new home tended to be more financially stable and likely had a higher income, allowing them to purchase a bigger home, despite the economic downturn. So, it made sense for homebuilders to tailor their jobs toward people hoping to buy a more expensive home.

The New Crisis

Today’s housing market is picking back up. Many experts now consider the Great Recession to be over, for the most part, and the housing industry to be in full recovery. However, the Federal Reserve recently made reference to a “new housing crisis,” Business Insider reported. The Fed was referring to the lack of affordable housing, meaning contractors will likely begin to focus on tailoring their skills to a different market. Instead of building bigger, they will begin building smaller, more affordable houses again.

No matter how the market fluctuates today or tomorrow, housing will always be a necessity. As interests and housing requirements change, contractors will need to keep up with consumer needs. Whether building large or small homes, though, builders will need to keep their tools, equipment and materials safe. When constructing new homes, crews would benefit from having safe, secure storage on-site to house all valuable items throughout the life of the project. Mobile Mini’s construction storage containers are weather resistant and come complete with the company’s patented Tri-cam locking system, ensuring that unauthorized personnel won’t gain access to important and expensive items.