Porches have been a popular home feature, consistently ranking in the top 10 in the NAHB surveys of recent and prospective home buyers published in What Home Buyers Really Want. And porches remain as popular as ever specifically on new homes, according to NAHB tabulation of the latest Survey of Construction (SOC, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau with partial funding from HUD) data. Of the roughly one million single-family homes started in 2022, the SOC data show that 66.4% came with porches. This is the highest the share has been since the re-design of the SOC in 2005.
Recent year-to-year fluctuations in the share of new homes with porches have not been very large, however. Since climbing to 63% for the first time in the 2009 trough of the Great Recession, the share hovered in a relatively narrow band between 63% and 66% before finally breaking above 66% for the first time in 2022.
Traditionally, porches on new homes have been most common in the four states that make up the East South Central Census division. That was true again in 2022, although the gap has narrowed. In 2022, 80% of new homes in the East South Central had porches, but the share was over 70% in four of the other eight divisions: the Pacific (78%), New England (73%), Mountain (72%), and South Atlantic (71%) divisions. Compared to the previous year’s results, the share of new homes with porches jumped upward by 7 to 10 percentage points in the Pacific, New England, and South Atlantic Divisions, but actually declined by 7 points in the East South Central.
The SOC provides information about the number of new single-family homes with porches, but not many details beyond that. Additional information, however, is available from the Builder Practices Survey (BPS), conducted annually by Home Innovation Research Labs. Among other things, the 2023 BPS report (based on homes built in 2022) shows that porches continue to be most common on the front of new single-family homes, rather than on the side or rear. Whether front, side or rear, the size of the porches tends to average a little over 100 square feet—unless it is a screened-in porch, in which case the average is well over 200 square feet.
To build their new home porches, builders continue to use concrete more than any other material on a square-foot basis—except in New England, where treated wood, composite, natural stone, and PVC or other plastics are each used more than concrete.
Readers interested in how well builder practices are tracking recent trends in consumer preferences. should watch for the 2024 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want, which will be released at the next International Builders Show