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Lot sizes shrink even as homes grow

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As they say in football, every inch counts.

The same is true with home ownership, where the U.S. Census Bureau’s Characteristics of New Single-Family Houses Sold finds lot sizes have shrunk dramatically over the past two decades.

Over on the National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog, Paul Emrath writes that a football field might provide the best measuring stick for modern neighborhoods:

“An acre is 43,560 square feet, so the above median lot size for 2013 is almost exactly one-fifth of an acre.  Not everyone has a good sense of how big an acre is.  To help visualize it, consider that, between the goal lines, a football field covers just about 1.1 acre.  This means that, if you placed a median-sized lot for a single-family detached home sold that filled the width of the field (160 feet) on the goal line, it would reach just past the 18 yard line.  And if you laid 5 of them side by side they would extend just almost all the way to the opposite 9 yard line–leaving space for almost exactly half another median-sized lot before reaching the other end zone.”

In other words, if the kick returner for your favorite team returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown this weekend, they would run the distance of approximately 5.6 median-sized lots.

As a builder, have you seen a noticeable drop in lot sizes? If so, what are the greatest challenges the smaller lots have posed?