According to Metrostudy, the average home size in the nation’s top 15 housing markets has declined over the past two years. The biggest dip was in the Charlotte, N.C. area, where average home size dropped by nearly 250 square feet. In Houston, Dallas and Austin, the average home size is now about 2,150 square feet, while in Minneapolis/St. Paul the number has shrunk to just 1,872.
These are all pricey markets, so the main impetus for downsizing is greater affordability. Empty-nesters and Millennial first-time buyers are willing to live in smaller houses if they’re attractively priced and well-designed. BSB Design’s upcoming Casita Square project in California will include detached homes in the 1,000 to 1,400 square foot range that sell for $150,000 to $175,000 – prices not seen in the Golden State for decades.
These houses are usually built on either small lots or by squeezing two houses on a single lot. “We often design two-story homes on small lots to maximize liveable space,” says Kerrin West, president of Studio 81 International in the Sacramento area. In fast-growing Nashville, older homes are being replaced by two “tall skinnies” on one lot. Each house can only be as high as 1½ times the width, e.g., a 16-ft. wide home could be 24 feet high. Most are built six feet apart, but in some cases they’re even closer.
For these zero-lot-line builds, it’s especially important to use proven fire-rated products in the exterior walls. LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated Sheathing combines flame-spread resistance and burn-through resistance in a single panel. It’s ICC-certified and offers a 30-minute Class A Flame Spread Rating and 15-minute thermal barrier protection. LP FlameBlock Fire-Rated Sheathing also speeds construction time and reduces labor costs because it eliminates a layer of gypsum.
The Metrostudy report makes it clear that fewer Americans want a 4,000 square foot home surrounded by acres of grass to mow. As homes get smaller and nearer each other, fire codes will continue to get more stringent. That’s why more builders are choosing products like LP FlameBlock that have been rigorously tested and certified.
The supply of modestly priced starter homes continues to drop nationwide. A recent report by Realtor.com found that the number of homes priced above $750,000 grew 11 percent last year, while the number of starter homes priced under $200,000 fell by 8 percent.Continue Reading
Any building professional will tell you that the quality of a building material is only as good as its warranty. This is why LP Building Solutions created an industry-leading limited warranty for our line of LP® SmartSide® siding products. One that aims to ensure peace-of-mind for builders and homeowners.
While it’s perfectly alright for a jazz musician to improvise, that approach doesn’t always work as well in homebuilding. Architects, specifiers, engineers and product reps spend many hours collaboratively choosing the right materials for each job – and an abrupt substitution to save a few dollars can ironically be very costly in terms of callbacks, design underperformance and even code violations. “Ideally, all parties involved – the architect, builder and developer – have reviewed the spec before it’s final and have agreed on all the products being used,” says Karen Alves, LP Brand Marketing Associate. “That’s because finding an ‘equivalent’ for siding or fire-rated sheathing involves not just the substrate but the codes that the product meets as well.”
Siding installers use many different brands of circular saws, but their preferred saw may not be as important as the siding material they are cutting with it. Some builders can sometimes be a bit removed from the importance placed on saw choice and would probably rely on their subcontractors choice, like Brent Taylor. “I don’t have much of an opinion on that because I use subcontracted labor,” says Brent Taylor, owner of O.C. Taylor in Raleigh, North Carolina, who was featured in an episode of Designing Spaces on Lifetime Network renovating a century-old house using LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding.