WASHINGTON — A new look at housing starts based on data from the Census Bureau finds that single-family homes in the U.S. continued to get smaller last year, and the downward trend is likely to last significantly beyond the end of the recession.

From a peak of 2,268 square feet in 2006, the median size of new single-family homes dropped consistently through last year, when the size was down to an even 2,100, according to a special study by economists at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"A new housing market is emerging, and even with the recession in the rear view mirror we expect the popularity of smaller homes to persist," said Bob Jones, chairman of NAHB and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, MI. "Builders are responding to a new mindset among home buyers that has been shaped not just by a weak economy, and it is transforming the product they deliver."

Read NAHB's press release.

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