Fewer New Homes Are Adding Basements
December 10, 2019
The share of new homes with full or partial basements is decreasing, according to a new analysis from the National Association of Home Builders. The share of new homes with basements dropped from 36.8% in 2000 to 24.3% in 2018, the most recent data available. Meanwhile, the share of new homes built on slab foundations—concrete placed directly onto the ground that the house is built upon—is steadily increasing, rising from 46% in 2000 to 60.1% in 2018.
The increasing gap between slab foundations and basements is largely being driven by declines of basements in the New England and Middle Atlantic regions of the U.S. The region with the highest number of full/partial basements is among new homes located in the West North Central (81.8%), followed by New England (69.5%).
“There are large regional differences in foundation types across the nation,” the National Association of Home Builders notes on its Eye on Housing blog. “Homes in colder areas, where building codes normally require foundations to be built below the frost line, are predominantly constructed with full or partial basements.” Meanwhile, slab foundations tend to be the most common in the West South Central division. Slab foundations usually are more common in warmer climates because they’re known as being more cost effective than a full-partial basement and also need the least amount of maintenance.
Full or partial basement foundations can offer additional finished square footage at a marginal increase in construction costs, the NAHB notes on its blog. For example, the average area of a finished basement was 1,050 square feet in the West North Central division.
“Basements Continue to Fall Out of Favor,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (Dec. 9, 2019)
Updated: February 14, 2020