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Survey: 87 Percent of U.S. Homes are Occupied

2013 American Housing Survey [1]About 87 percent of the 133 million total residential housing units in the U.S. in 2013 were reported to be occupied, according to the findings of the 2013 American Housing Survey [2] (AHS) released earlier this week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD [3]) and the U.S. Census Bureau [4].

The number of occupied housing units for 2013 represented an increase of 413,000 since 2011, when the previous American Housing Survey was released. At that time, 65 percent of housing units were reported to be occupied by their owners, while 35 percent were occupied by renters.

In 2013, the AHS indicated that the median size of all single-family detached housing units was 1,800 square feet, with a median lot size of .25 acres. The lot size in 2013 represented a substantial decrease in size from 1973, the first year the AHS was sponsored by HUD and conducted by the Census Bureau, when the median lot size of a single-family detached housing unit was reported to be .36 acres.

The latest AHS reported a decline in median monthly costs from $927 to $896 from 2011 to 2013 for all occupied housing units. However, the owners' costs fell while the renters' costs increased. Owners' median monthly costs dropped from $1,008 to $934 while the costs for renters took a slight upward turn from $845 to $850.

The number of homes experiencing moderate to severe physical problems (such as heating, plumbing, or electrical) declined slightly from 2011 to 2013, according to the latest AHS. In 2013, about two million homes were reported to have severe physical problems, while about four million homes reported having moderate physical problems.

About two-thirds of housing units in the U.S. used warm-air furnaces for heating in 2013, according to the latest AHS. About 12 percent of housing units used an electric heat pump for heating, while 10.4 percent of houses used steam/radiant heating.