A new research study from NAHB Economics finds there is considerably more to the story of the stereotypical large home in the suburbs than what appears in the misleading and misguided criticism often leveled against it.

The authors of the study, “The Geography of Home Size and Occupancy,” concede that there is an element of truth in the observation that owner-occupied homes are smaller in downtown areas and inner suburbs and larger in the outer suburbs.

But this characterization “overlooks how many people actually reside in these homes,” write NAHB economists Robert Dietz and Natalia Siniavskaia. “That is, it is incorrect to claim that those larger homes mean more ‘housing space’ for people who live outside central cities,” they say, because those homes in outlying areas tend to be occupied by larger households.

Data from the biennial American Housing Survey for 2009 shows that roughly three-fourths of the nation’s 76 million owner-occupied homes are located inside metropolitan areas.

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