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The Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Construction (SOC) shows changes in the number and shares of bathrooms and half-bathrooms of single-family homes started in the United States in 2018. The latest year’s data show that 3% of new single-family homes started had one bathroom or less, 64% had 2 bathrooms, 26% had 3 bathrooms, and 8% had 4 bathrooms or more. The term “bathroom” as used in this post refers to a full bathroom.

The above figure shows that the shares of new single-family homes started with 1 bathroom or less, 3 bathrooms, and 4 bathrooms or more declined from 2017, but the share of new single-family homes started with 2 bathrooms increased. Additionally, the share of new homes with 2 bathrooms has consistently exceeded the other bathrooms-per-unit categories.

The widespread decline in shares of bathrooms per unit is correlated with the increasing median sale and contract price per square foot; as building costs increase, builders find it more prudent to install new single-family homes with fewer bathrooms, typically in the starter market for first-time homebuyers.

A previous analysis on bathrooms and half-bathrooms in the Survey of Construction points to a correlation between more starter homes (for first-time home-buyers) constructed in a given year and fewer number of full bathrooms per unit. A closer look at the data shows that new single-family homes between 2,000 and 2,399 square feet have maintained more stable shares in the number of bathrooms per unit from 2017 to 2018 than any of the other sizes of the houses surveyed.

As in previous years, the 2018 SOC data show variation in the number of bathrooms by Census division.

As seen in the above figure, the shares of new homes started in 2018 with 3 bathrooms or more was 34% of all new single-family homes started, a decline from 36% in 2017. The Pacific, Mountain, and West North Central regions were the only Census divisions post gains in shares of new homes started with 3 bathrooms or more from the prior year.