Allen Norwood

Quick quiz on new homes

Today, as we recover from one holiday and gird for another, a little diversion: You drive by new subdivisions every day – you might even live in one – so test your knowledge of the country’s new homes.

What’s the average size of new homes? How are they heated and cooled? Of course, how much do they cost?

The questions are based on a Census Bureau report, Characteristics of New Housing, covering 2013. Some figures are for homes completed last year, while others are for homes sold.

Q: Heat pumps might be the only heating and cooling systems you see in your neighborhood. There are several reasons: Many new subdivisions are beyond the reach of natural gas, and heat pumps work reasonably well in this climate. (Less well in upstate New York, I’ve heard.) So, what percentage of new, single-family homes completed last year across the entire country are heated and cooled by heat pumps?

A: Fewer than half of 569,000 homes completed in 2013 had heat pumps. Just 216,000 homes – and 183,000 of those were in the South.

Q: When David Weekley began building in the Charlotte area years ago, he was surprised to learn that so many new homes were built over crawl spaces. Back in Houston, his growing company often built on slabs; here, though, the rolling terrain made that more difficult. Across the country, how many homes completed last year were built over basements or crawlspaces, and how many were built on slabs?

A: Of 569,000 homes completed, 166,000 had full or partial basements, while 91,000 had crawl spaces. Another 312,000 had slabs or other type of foundation.

Q: How many new homes in 2013 had garages, and how many had garages for three or more vehicles?

A: Most new homes have covered parking. Of the 429,000 new homes sold last year, 20,000 had one-car garages, 300,000 had two-car garages, and 98,000 had garages for three vehicles or more. Just 10,000 new homes lacked garages or carports.

Q: How big was the average new home in 2013?

A: The average single-family house completed was 2,598 square feet. The average in the South was larger, at 2,689 square feet.

Q: How much did it cost?

A: The average price of new single-family homes sold was $324,500. That’s up about 11 percent from the year before, when the average price was $292,200.