Minimum House Size By State 2020

Around the country, communities are growing and developing at a rapid pace. This is especially true in suburbs surrounding large cities where people want to live within proximity to the city center without the extreme housing costs.

Given this, communities are increasingly imposing larger minimum lot sizes and area requirements, especially in residential communities. Zoning ordinances, building and housing codes, and subdivision regulations are being imposed in these areas to preserve the semi-rural living attributes such as scattered homes, adequate space, and low-density housing. The motivations for doing so could include preserving the health and safety of the community, including concerns about fire, noise, circulation of air, and pollution. Some believe that such regulations are imposed because the wealthy want to exclude less wealthy groups from their communities.

Communities have the power to regulate the density of their neighborhoods indirectly through provisions such as minimum lot area per family; lot dimensions, frontage, depth, and yards; and type of structure.

Most states have adopted building and zoning codes from the International Residential Code (IRC). The IRC codes require that all homes must be built on a minimum of 320 square feet. The minimum square footage for a house if 120 square feet and at least one room must be habitable. Habitable rooms meet other regulations such as needing a closet and at least one window. Other rooms, not meant for sleeping, must be at least 70 square feet. Bathrooms and kitchens do not have minimum floor spaces; however, all rooms must have ceiling heights of at least seven to eight feet tall. Minimum house sizes, however, vary greatly between states, towns, and counties. Some areas require new homes to have a minimum of 1000 square feet.

In addition to growing communities, “tiny homes” have become increasingly popular and are difficult to construct and permanently reside in due to local government building and zoning requirements. There are two types of tiny homes: tiny homes on wheels considered to be RVs (recreation vehicles) and tiny homes on foundation considered to be accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Tiny homes that are registered as RVs do not need to deal with zoning or building code concerns and will only need a place to legally park it.

Because of these homes’ extremely small and minimalist design, many states have to adjust housing regulations to include the new trend.

All tiny homes have two important factors to consider: building codes and zoning regulations. Building codes include a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches for common areas (6 feet 4 inches in bathrooms), one separate bathroom, enough windows to meet the emergency exit requirements, and a ladder or stairs to reach the loft.

As previously mentioned, some states have adopted the IRC code; however, some counties, towns, and neighborhoods have adopted their own regulations. When building a home, one should always check with their local jurisdiction to find out what the minimum specifications are. Some places have no minimum size restrictions.

Below is the minimum house size allowed in each state. Some minimum house sizes apply to tiny homes as accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Tiny home regulations may not be stated below but all tiny homes need to follow the minimum regulations previously stated.

Alabama

  • Every home needs to have at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupants and at least 100 square feet for each additional occupant.

Alaska

  • The minimum permitted dwelling size is 100 square feet.
  • Anything below 400 square feet is considered to be a “tiny home.”

Arizona

  • Any home built with a foundation must be at least 200 square feet
  • Any home under 400 square feet is considered to be a “tiny home” and needs to follow the respective building codes

Arkansas

  • IRC codes are enforced in most municipalities of Arkansas.
  • Lawrence County and Walnut Ridge require a 600-foot minimum.

California

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Connecticut

    • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Colorado

  • Every home needs to have at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupants and at least 100 square feet for each additional occupant.

Delaware

  • Every home needs to have at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupants and at least 100 square feet for each additional occupant.

Florida

  • Every dwelling must have at least one habitable room of at least 120 square feet and other habitable rooms must be at least 70 square feet.

Georgia

  • Every dwelling unit must have at least one habitable room of at least 70 square feet. Other rooms must be at least 70 square feet and no less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension.

Hawaii

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Idaho

  • A house must be at least 150 square feet.

Illinois

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Indiana

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Iowa

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Kansas

  • (Unless stated otherwise) at least one habitable room of 120 square feet and any additional room must have a minimum of 70 square feet.

Kentucky

  • (Unless stated otherwise) at least one habitable room of 120 square feet and any additional room must have a minimum of 70 square feet. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Louisiana

  • IRC code of one habitable room of 120 square feet and any additional room must have a minimum of 70 square feet

Maine

  • Local jurisdictions that allow tiny homes still require one room at least 120 square feet and other habitable rooms to be at least 70 square feet.
  • Cities, towns, and counties have the freedom to reject tiny homes based on previous codes established. Local ordinances need to be checked for square footage requirements.

Maryland

  • IRC applies but each jurisdiction is allowed to modify the code. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Massachusetts

  • Every dwelling unit must be at least 150 square feet for the first occupant, and at least 100 square feet for every additional occupant.

Michigan

  • The state minimum dwelling size is 120 square feet.
  • Counties, cities, and towns might have different regulations. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Minnesota

  • Minimum sizes vary from 500 to 2,000 square feet.
  • Requirements vary by municipality. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Mississippi

  • No specific minimum house size.
  • Tiny homes can be as little as 100 feet.
  • Local ordinances need to be checked.

Missouri

  • IRC code of one habitable room of 120 square feet and any additional room must have a minimum of 70 square feet.

Montana

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Nebraska

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Nevada

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

New Hampshire

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

New Jersey

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

New Mexico

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

New York

  • All dwelling units (and apartments) must have at least one room with at least 150 square feet.

North Carolina

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

North Dakota

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Ohio

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.
  • Many municipalities have a 1,000 square foot minimum.

Oklahoma

  • IRC code of one habitable room of 120 square feet and any additional room must have a minimum of 70 square feet.
  • Local ordinances need to be checked.

Oregon

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Pennsylvania

  • Homes must have one room of at least 120 square feet. Other habitable rooms must be at least 70 square feet

Rhode Island

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

South Carolina

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

South Dakota

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Tennessee

  • Every dwelling must have at least one habitable room with a minimum of 120 square feet. Each additional habitable room must be at least 70 square feet.

Texas

  • A feasible minimum space of 150 square feet is required with one habitable space of at least 120 square feet and additional space required for a bathroom.

Utah

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Vermont

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.
  • Most jurisdictions are accepting of tiny home sizes.

Virginia

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Washington

  • All homes must have at least one habitable room of at least 120 square feet and at least 70 square feet for any additional habitable room

West Virginia

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Wisconsin

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Wyoming

  • Minimum square footage depends on the county or city. Local ordinances need to be checked.

Minimum House Size By State 2020

State 2020 Pop. 2020 Growth
Alabama4,908,6210.42%
Alaska734,002-0.47%
Arizona7,378,4942.88%
Arkansas3,038,9990.84%
California39,937,4890.96%
Colorado5,845,5262.63%
Connecticut3,563,077-0.27%
Delaware982,8951.63%
District of Columbia720,6872.60%
Florida21,992,9853.26%
Georgia10,736,0592.06%
Hawaii1,412,687-0.55%
Idaho1,826,1564.10%
Illinois12,659,682-0.64%
Indiana6,745,3540.80%
Iowa3,179,8490.75%
Kansas2,910,357-0.04%
Kentucky4,499,6920.70%
Louisiana4,645,184-0.32%
Maine1,345,7900.55%
Maryland6,083,1160.67%
Massachusetts6,976,5971.08%
Michigan10,045,0290.49%
Minnesota5,700,6711.59%
Mississippi2,989,2600.09%
Missouri6,169,2700.70%
Montana1,086,7592.30%
Nebraska1,952,5701.21%
Nevada3,139,6583.47%
New Hampshire1,371,2461.09%
New Jersey8,936,5740.31%
New Mexico2,096,6400.06%
New York19,440,469-0.52%
North Carolina10,611,8622.20%
North Dakota761,7230.22%
Ohio11,747,6940.50%
Oklahoma3,954,8210.30%
Oregon4,301,0892.63%
Pennsylvania12,820,8780.11%
Rhode Island1,056,161-0.11%
South Carolina5,210,0952.48%
South Dakota903,0272.36%
Tennessee6,897,5761.88%
Texas29,472,2952.68%
Utah3,282,1153.83%
Vermont628,0610.28%
Virginia8,626,2071.27%
Washington7,797,0953.47%
West Virginia1,778,070-1.54%
Wisconsin5,851,7540.66%
Wyoming567,025-1.85%