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New data released by the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction indicates that nationally, 22.6% of new homes built in 2018 had a deck: this is down from 25% in 2010 and 23.7% in 2017. This decline doesn’t necessarily mean homeowners have lost interest in outdoor living space— builders are delivering homes with less-expensive outdoor features like porches and patios as a way to reduce cost. Homes built with a porch only or porch plus patio rose from 39% in 2010 to 52% in 2018.

How do homeowners create their outdoor living space? They build the deck after they purchase the home. Decks built on homes where no deck existed previously represents an estimated 20% of decking demand. That percentage rises significantly when the home is less than ten years old. In a survey of 750 homeowners conducted by Principia in 2019, 47.5% of owners in a home less than ten years old who built a deck in the past two years built a deck where no deck previously existed.

When builders do not deliver outdoor features homeowners want, they take matters into their own hands.