The lack of affordable, buildable lots and the scarcity of labor affected home production in 2017. While starts increased by 9 percent over 2016, the characteristics of these new homes stayed largely the same, according to survey results from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released yesterday during a press conference at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.

The average home size, at 2,622 square feet in 2016, was essentially unchanged in 2017, averaging 2,627 square feet. Forty-six percent had four bedrooms or more compared to 45 percent in 2016; 37 percent had three full baths or more compared to 35 percent in 2016.

Housing availability and affordability remain a serious issue, and it’s reflected in these findings, said Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research for NAHB.

Further, 65 percent of those surveyed don’t believe it’s going to get any easier in 2018. Seventy-nine percent of these prospective buyers can only afford half the homes in their markets, Quint said. “These potential buyers see a problem with housing availability. They know it’s a tough nut to crack, but they are not deterred. They are still planning to buy a house in the next 12 months.”

Homes built in 2018 will most likely include a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, separate laundry room, a great room, nine-foot ceilings on the main floor and granite kitchen counters. They are also very likely to contain energy-efficient features such as low-E windows and Energy Star-certified appliances and windows, the survey said.

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