9 ways new homes have changed since the 1970s
Construction of houses has evolved as homeowners' needs change and technology advances.
The Census Bureau provides information on different characteristics of newly built houses from the 1970s to 2012. We looked at how those characteristics have changed over the past few decades.
Houses are getting taller, with an increasing share of new houses having at least two stories. Split-level houses, while popular in the mid-20th century, have all but vanished.
Houses are also getting more bedrooms. The share of houses built in 2012 with at least four bedrooms reached 41 percent, nearing the 46 percent of new houses with three bedrooms:
Going along with the themes of bigger and more, in every year since 1998, a majority of new houses were built with at least 2.5 bathrooms:
Basements, on the other hand, have been going out of style. Since 2002, a majority of new houses have been built with a slab-style or other foundation, without a basement or a crawlspace:
Exterior wall materials have dramatically changed over the past few decades. In 1973, 65 percent of newly built houses had wood or brick exteriors. In 2012, only 30 percent of new houses had these traditional exteriors. About a third of houses in 2012 were built with vinyl siding:
Central air conditioning has gone from being a rarity outside the South to being nearly ubiquitous:
Along those lines, heat pumps, which can double as heating and air conditioning systems, have become somewhat more common in recent years, although warm-air furnaces are still the most common method of heating a house:
Fireplaces rose in popularity throughout the 1980s, with about two-thirds of new houses built in 1990 having at least one. Since 2010 however, less than half of newly built houses come with this amenity:
All these bedrooms, bathrooms, fireplaces and air conditioning units have more and more space to fit into. Aside from a short dip from 2007 to 2009 in the wake of the housing bubble and financial crisis, houses have been getting bigger since the 1970s:
Chart data via Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from U.S. Census Bureau
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Well, they caught me there. I built this house back 10 years ago. 2 floors, 2 AC units, 5 bedrooms, second floor porch (southern colonial style), and a small 1000 foot building off to the side made from cinder block.
I turned the house so that it faces east to get maximum light inside the house and parked it in the middle of six acres of woods so dense, I cannot see another human being (or house). There are deer in the woods, fox, and a host of other animals. I leave them alone, but a bear... I will shoot it cold.