The U.S. Census Bureau has just released the 2012 version of its report on Characteristics of New Housing. The report is composed of dozens of individual spreadsheets, available in both Excel and PDF format covers pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about new single and multifamily buildings and units completed and, in some instances, sold in 2012.

The data goes back to 1973 so readers can make comparisons across the years for any number of housing characteristics. For example, of the 483,000 single family homes completed in 2012, 432,000 had air-conditioning (89 percent). However, of the 940,000 homes completed in 1974 only 451,000 or 48 percent were air conditioned.

Single family home data includes information on the median and mean square footage of the structure (the average size was 1,755 sf in 1978, 2,505 in 2012) and configuration of new homes (63,000 had two or fewer bedrooms and 198,000 had four bedrooms or more,) interior and exterior building materials, construction type (142,000 had a full or partial basement, 78,000 had a crawl space, and 263,000 were built on a slab), and types of heating system, exterior features, and parking facilities.

Data is broken out by regions (30 percent of homes built in the South exceed 3,000 square feet, the others regions lag far behind) and by locations inside and outside of metropolitan areas. Some data is also given by type of financing used. The largest houses on average were conventionally financed, the smallest were all cash purchases or FHA insured.

Some other facts about 483,000 single family homes constructed in 2012:

  • 34,000 had one and one-half bathrooms or less, whereas 145,000 homes had three or more bathrooms.

  • 266,000 were of two or more stories.

  • 278,000 had a warm-air furnace and 183,000 had a heat pump as the primary heating system.

  • 285,000 heating systems were powered by gas and 189,000 were powered by electricity.

  • There were 368,000 new single-family homes sold in 2012.

  • The average sales price was $292,200 or $86.30 per square foot. The highest price was in the Northeast at an average psf price of $122.60.

  • There were 82,000 contractor built homes started in 2012.

Some of the data on multi-family construction in the reports:

  • There were 245,000 multi-family units started in 2012 17,000 of which were age-restricted

  • There were 166,000 multifamily units completed during the year, 16,000 of which were age restricted.

  • Of units completed, 60,000 had one bedroom and 28,000 had three or more; 79,000 had two or more bathrooms

  • The average square footage of units built for sale was 1,626

  • There were 9,000 multi-family buildings completed in 2012, 8,000 of which were low-rise with three or fewer floors.

The tables can be downloaded at