Since 2009, the share of new homes with porches has been relatively stable, staying between 63 and 65 percent most years. However, the new-home porch share has broken above the 65 percent barrier twice. The first time was the record high of 65.7 percent for new homes started in 2011. The second time was the 65.1 percent of homes started in 2016. Although the share declined slightly to 64.7 percent in 2017, that still represents the third highest percentage on record.
The Census Bureau generally publishes characteristics of new housing only for the four principal Census regions, but the underlying data can be tabulated down to the nine Census divisions. There turns out to be substantial variation across divisions in the share of new homes built with porches. Sometimes, the difference is substantial even between neighboring divisions. The low extreme is the 52 percent of new homes with porches in the West North Central divison, as well as in the West South Central that neighbors the West North Central to the south. At the high end of the scale, however, 89 percent of homes started in 2017 were built with porches in the four states that make up the East South Central division, which lies adjacent to the West South Central, on its eastern border.
While the SOC shows how many new single-family homes are built with porches, it doesn’t provide much information about the nature of the porches. Information on that, however, is available from the Annual Builder Practices Survey (BPS) conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs. The preliminary 2018 BPS report shows that front porches were far more common than side or rear porches on single-family homes built in 2017.
The BPS also shows that the average size of a front porch on a new home is roughly 100 square feet. Measured by square footage, the material most commonly used to build new home porches is concrete, followed by treated wood. Many species of wood used in home building, like southern yellow pine, don’t withstand outdoor use unless pressure treated with preservative chemicals.