Homes and gardens: New data highlights the US cities with the most spacious living

Raleigh tops the list for spacious living in the US while southern cities take the lead overall.

By Alex Summers

As the Covid-19 pandemic aftermath still lingers, the desire for spacious living in urban environments is gaining traction across the US, especially with the rise of remote work. However, finding generous homes and expansive backyards can be challenging amid decreasing lot and house sizes and soaring prices.

Florida offers more spacious living according to a recent report. (Photo by Bilanol/Shutterstock)

A recent study of the 50 largest US cities using Yardi data reveals that the South is leading the way in offering spacious living, with Raleigh, North Carolina, taking the top spot.

Raleigh: leading the nation for generous space at home

Raleigh, North Carolina, has emerged as the best city in the US for those seeking spacious living in urban surroundings. The median size of a single-family home in Raleigh is nearly 1,950 square feet, and the residential lots cover approximately 10,500 square feet, leaving residents with sizeable backyards for various activities.

Contrary to the national trend, homes in Raleigh have gained square footage in recent years. The city’s new homes, built between 2013 and 2022, have a median size of over 2,400 square feet, 23% larger than the overall median home size. Although the lot sizes for these new homes decreased by one-third compared with the general median lot size in Raleigh, the city’s steady growth in the new home market provides homebuyers with plenty of options.

Southern Cities dominate the top 10

Seven southern cities dominate the top ten hotspots for spacious living, including Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, taking the second and third spots, respectively. The southern region is known for blending spacious homes with sprawling backyards, providing residents with ample living and outdoor space.

The Lone Star State of Texas and the Sunshine State of Florida also stand out for offering generous homes and backyards. Austin, Texas, ranks among the top cities with 2,000-square-foot homes and large lots of approximately 8,600 square feet, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a roomy home in a thriving urban environment. However, the demand has put pressure on the local market, leading to a reduction in lot sizes over the past decade.

Space and sunshine in Florida, while East Coast cities struggle for space

Jacksonville, Florida, ranks seventh overall in the list of best cities for spacious living. The city’s median home size is approximately 1,818 square feet, built on lots of slightly over 9,100 square feet, providing residents with about 20% of backyard space.

On the other end of the spectrum, cities in the Midwest and East Coast, like Philadelphia and Chicago face challenges in providing ample home and backyard space. Philadelphia ranks last among the 50 largest cities, with median lot sizes of around 1,420 square feet, largely due to the prevalence of multi-level townhouses.

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Also of note, as homeowners embrace spacious living, self-storage solutions have become increasingly popular to manage belongings like garden furniture and tools during different seasons. The rise in demand for storage facilities has led to something of a development boom, providing residents with the convenience of finding suitable units close to their homes.

[Read more: How building more backyard homes, granny flats and in-law suites can help alleviate the housing crisis]

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