Construction Price Indexes

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- For the purposes of these statistics, a full bathroom is one that has a washbasin, a toilet, and either a bathtub or shower, or a combination of bathtub and shower. A half bathroom is one that has a toilet, bathtub, or shower, but not all the facilities to be classified as a full bathroom. If the respondent reported a full bathroom and two half bathrooms, the house is classified as a two-bathroom house.

- A bedroom is a finished room specifically designed to be used for sleeping. A den, a space in the attic, or a basement that could be converted to a bedroom is not counted as a bedroom. A one-room house or efficiency is considered to have one bedroom.

Confidence Interval
- The sample estimate and an estimate of its standard error allow us to construct interval estimates with prescribed confidence that the interval includes the average result of all possible samples with the same size and design. To illustrate, if all possible samples were surveyed under essentially the same conditions, and estimates calculated from each sample, then:
  1. Approximately 68 percent of the intervals from one standard error below the estimate to one standard error above the estimate would include the average value of all possible samples.
  2. Approximately 90 percent of the intervals from 1.6 standard errors below the estimate to 1.6 standard errors above the estimate would include the average value of all possible samples.

Thus, for a particular sample, one can say with specified confidence that the average of all possible samples is included in the constructed interval.

- A type of ownership in which each owner owns the interior walls of the unit. The owner of each unit also holds a common or joint ownership in all common areas and facilities associated with the unit; such as, land, roof, exterior walls, hallways, entrances, elevators, lobbies, etc. Condominium ownership may apply to single-family and multifamily structures.

A condominium apartment building is classified with apartment buildings in structures with five units or more, despite the fact that each unit is individually owned.

Construction Method

- Finished 3-dimensional sections of the complete dwelling are built in a factory and transported to the site to be joined together on a permanent foundation.

- A package of wall panels, roof trusses, and other components is shipped from a factory to be assembled on site. This may include all materials required to finish the house as a complete package.

- A package of lumber or timber (logs), precut to exact size, length, and quantity is shipped from a factory to be assembled on site. The package may also include plumbing, wiring, and/or heating system elements.

- The house is built entirely on site, except that it may include some factory components such as roof and floor trusses, wall panels, doorframes, etc.

- A floored area without a roof, not sitting directly on the ground, typically made of wood or wood products.

Fiber Cement
- A durable building product made from cellulose fiber, Portland cement, ground sand, and additives mixed with water and formed into siding panels.

Fireplace (indoor)
- The data include those made of masonry, tile, metal, or other permanently installed materials that are a fixed and integral part of the building, including gas, wood, and solid fuel burning varieties.

Fisher Ideal Price Index
- The geometric average of the Laspeyres and Paasche price indexes for the same time period.

Floor Area

- For these statistics, floor area is defined as all completely finished floor space, including space in basements and attics with finished walls, floors, and ceilings. This does not include a garage, carport, porch, unfinished attic or utility room, or any unfinished area of the basement.

In concept, measurement is based on exterior dimensions. Measurements are taken to the outside of exterior walls for detached houses. Builders sometimes provide the gross square footage (based on exterior dimensions) of a detached structure. This footage usually does not contain unfinished space. However, in townhouses, the gross square footage often includes the whole lower level, even though that area might include a garage and unfinished rooms. For purposes of these statistics, where the floor area for a new house was reported based on interior dimensions, the figure is converted to exterior dimensions by multiplying by a standard conversion factor of 1.08. A standard conversion factor of 1.04 is used to convert figures to exterior dimensions where it was not known whether the reported area was based on exterior or interior dimensions.

- Square footage for multifamily buildings is defined as all floor and associated living space. Floor space is defined as the floor area of all completely finished living space in the building, including the basement and attic, with finished walls, floors, and ceilings. This does not include a garage, carport, porch, unfinished attic or utility room, or any unfinished area of the basement.

Associated living space is defined as hallways, elevator space, lobbies, and any other indoor space used by the residents.

Square footage for mixed-use multifamily buildings is defined as the square footage of the residential portion of the structure only.

- The foundation is the first piece of a home to be constructed and creates a base for the rest of the home's components. There are three types of foundations that are commonly used: slab, crawlspace, and basement.
- Slab is a type of foundation consisting of a structural concrete slab poured directly on the grade.

- A crawlspace is an accessible space with limited headroom, typically between the soil and the bottom of the first floor of the home.

- A basement is the lowest habitable story of a building, usually below ground level. Part of the basement can be at ground level (walk-out basements.)
Heat Pump
- See "Heating System."

Heating System

Warm-Air Furnace
- A type of space-heating equipment in which a central combustor or resistance unit (generally using gas, fuel oil, or electricity) provides warm air that circulates through ducts leading to the various rooms. Heat pumps are not included in this category. A forced-air furnace is one in which a fan is used to force the air through the ducts.

Heat Pump
- Refers to a heating/cooling system, which utilizes indoor and outdoor coils, a compressor, and refrigerant to pump hot air in during the winter and out during the summer. Only heat pumps that are centrally installed with ducts to the rooms are included in this category. This includes both air-source and geothermal (ground-source) versions.

Hot Water or Steam
- Either of two types of a central space-heating system that supplies steam or hot water to radiators, convectors, or pipes. The more common type supplies either steam or hot water to conventional radiators, baseboard radiators, convectors, heating pipes embedded in the walls or ceilings, or heating coils or equipment that are part of a combined heating/ventilating or heating/air-conditioning system. The other type supplies radiant heat through pipes that carry hot water and are inlaid in a concrete slab floor.

Hot Water or Steam Heat
- See "Heating System."

Laspeyres Price Index
- A price index calculated from a set ("basket") of fixed quantities of a finite list of goods. We are assumed to know the prices in two different periods. Let the price index be one in the first period, which is then the base period. Then the value of the index in the second period is equal to this ratio: the total cost of the basket of goods in period two divided by the total cost of exactly the same basket in period one.

Lot Value
- The lot value includes the value of the undeveloped land as well as grading, drainage, installation of gas and/or electric utility lines, water pipes or wells, sewage lines and/or septic tanks, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, driveways, retaining walls, etc.

This does not include outdoor amenities, such as fireplaces or swimming pools.

Metropolitan Areas
- The titles and definitions for Metropolitan Areas (MAs), which are made up of Metropolitan Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs), conform to those defined by the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President, as of December 2003. More information on Metropolitan Areas can be found at

Modular Construction
- See "Construction Method."

- See "Single-Family House."

Paasche Price Index
- A price index calculated from a set ("basket") of fixed quantities of a finite list of goods. The Paasche index compares the cost of purchasing the current basket of goods and services with the cost of purchasing the same basket in an earlier period. The prices are weighted by the quantities of the current period. This means that each time the index is calculated, the weights are different.

Panelized Construction
- See "Construction Method."

Precut Construction
- See "Construction Method."

- The standard Census geographic regions are used in these statistics. States contained in each region are as follows:

Northeast Midwest South West
Connecticut Illinois Alabama Alaska
Maine Indiana Arkansas Arizona
Massachusetts Iowa Delaware California
New Hampshire Kansas District of Columbia Colorado
New Jersey Michigan Florida Hawaii
New York Minnesota Georgia Idaho
Pennsylvania Missouri Kentucky Montana
Rhode Island Nebraska Louisiana Nevada
Vermont North Dakota Maryland New Mexico
  Ohio Mississippi Oregon
  South Dakota North Carolina Utah
  Wisconsin Oklahoma Washington
    South Carolina Wyoming
    West Virginia  

A map of the regions can be found at:

Relative Standard Error (RSE)
- The estimated standard error expressed as a percent of the estimated total or proportion, that is, the estimated standard error times 100 divided by the estimate. This is also called coefficient of variation (CV).

Residential Building
- A residential building is a building consisting primarily of housing units. In a new building combining residential and nonresidential floor areas, every effort is made to include the residential units in these statistics, even if the primary function of the entire building is for nonresidential purposes.

Single-Family House
- The single-family statistics include fully detached, semidetached (semiattached, side-by-side), row houses, and townhouses. In the case of attached units, each must be separated from the adjacent unit by a ground-to-roof wall in order to be classified as a single-family structure. Also, these units must not share heating/air-conditioning systems or utilities, such as water supply, power supply, or sewage disposal lines.

Units built one on top of another and those built side-by-side that do not have a ground-to-roof wall and/or have common facilities (i.e., attic, basement, heating plant, plumbing, etc.) are not included in the single-family statistics.

Site-built Construction
- See "Construction Method."

Square Feet of Floor Area
- See "Floor Area."

Standard Error
- Measure of the variation among the estimates from all possible samples; measure of the precision with which an estimate from a particular sample approximates the average results of all possible samples; square root of the sampling variance.

Steam Heat
- See "Heating System."

- A durable finish applied wet that usually consists of cement, sand, and lime.

Warm-Air Furnace
- See "Heating System."

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Construction Price Indexes | (301) 763-5160 |  Last Revised: June 28, 2012