Seven Percent of Builders Now Build Barndominiums

Barndominium: a structure that is, in some sense, a combination barn and condominium

A rising term in the industry, barndominiums are becoming increasingly widespread in real estate media outlets. Even more so, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) included the term in a questions in its February 2024 NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The survey yielded a response of a total of 7% of single-family builders are indeed building barndominiums at some point during the past 12 months.

According to Eye On Housing, That result, however, leaves open the question of what a builder means by a barndominium. Unlike a term with a consistent definition maintained by, say, an academic organization or government agency, “barndominium” has meant different things to different reporters over the years.

When the term was first gaining popularity, reporters were usually using it to describe a metal frame structure that was used as a primary residence. But that usage has been far from consistent.

When NAHB’s builders were asked about the type of barndominiums they built, the vast majority (70%) indicated that their barndos were a combination of residential space and a large shop area—a criterion that doesn’t even consider the structure’s framing. The percentages referring to framing-based criteria were smaller but still significant: 30% of builders reported that their barndos were a combination of traditional residential and post-frame construction, and 26% said they were post-framed residential structures with sheet metal siding (26%). Only 9% said their barndos were created by actually converting a barn into a primary residence.

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