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Lot sizes shrink even as homes grow


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?