Finished basements are becoming more popular, especially in large houses

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction, the number of new houses with basements is declining across the U.S., down by almost a quarter from 40 percent of new homes in 2000 to 32 percent in 2013. Surprisingly, not only did the relative number of finished basements rise, but there has also been an increase in the absolute percentage: 9 percent of all new homes in the U.S. now have a finished basement.


This shows us that finished basements are becoming more popular. In order to better understand the reasons behind it, we must look at the data more closely. First, let’s see how the percentage changed on the U.S. map.


As you can see, finished basements are especially popular in West North Central states (33 percent of all new homes). This is twice the percentage of the second-place division, East North Central. In states toward the South and closer to both coasts, the vast majority of homes have unfinished basements or no basement at all. This is especially true for the West South Central division, where the reported number of finished basements is so small (0.05 percent) that it’s virtually meaningless.


Interestingly enough, large houses (those with five or more bedrooms) most often have finished basements — they appear in around 18 percent of these homes. You might think that owners of smaller houses are more in the need of that extra living space. It appears, on the other hand, that these owners prefer not to finish their basements, with only 5 percent of them doing so. Houses built for rent or for sale have finished basements less often than owner-built and contractor-built homes, at 9 and 12 percent respectively.

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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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