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Single-family homes: How many stories are we building?

by Kelly Leighton on

Across the country, buyers are varied in whether they prefer one-story or larger single-family homes

However, in Pennsylvania, along with New York, New Jersey and New England, the answer is clear: We prefer two or more stories, with 80 percent of single-family home completions in 2015 being at least two stories, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. NAHB attributes this preference to the costlier lot values in the area, in addition to higher density and land constraints.

Across the country, two or more story homes were overall more popular, but only slightly. Of homes completed in 2015, 58 percent were at least two stories, with 42 percent being one story.  Across the East Coast and West Coast, generally, there are more two-story or larger homes. But in the South and the West, the numbers are much more balanced. In the South, 43 percent of new homes built were one-story homes, compared to 57 percent of two-stories or larger homes. In the West, 59 percent of single-family homes built in 2015 were at least two stories, compared to 41 percent of one-story homes. However, in the Midwest, the one-story family had the lead over larger homes, with more than half of homes having only one story.

While these numbers may seem like two-stories or larger homes are the way to go, NAHB recently released a report in which they found that 64 percent of buyers surveyed said they preferred  one-story homes. NAHB notes that there is more behind the data, however. Three-quarters of baby boomers and 88 percent of seniors prefer one-story homes. Yet, only 49 percent of generation X is seeking a one-floor home, while 35 percent of millennials prefer a one-story.


Homebuyers Homebuilders One-story home Two-story home
Comments (1)


  • Brian Hilker    September 11, 2016 | 9:11 pm

    This is a very interesting fact. It surprises me that Allegheny county isn’t building more one level homes to meet the needs of our seniors. Since Allegheny county has the second oldest population in the US. I believe Dade county Florida has the oldest population. The baby boomers are going to need homes without stairs and builders should be planning for this generation.

    Reply to Brian Hilker

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