Fireplaces can be practical, as a backup source for heating when there's no electricity or gas.
Fireplaces can be romantic, as a cozy gathering place on a wintery evening.
But for close to the majority of new homeowners, fireplaces aren't even in the picture.
According to the Census Bureau, the number of new homes built without a fireplace reached 49% in 2009, the highest percentage since 1975.
In 1990, 66% of new homes included a fireplace. After that, the trend began to shift away from fireplaces. The graph shows the trend since 1995.
What could be causing the decline in the number of fireplaces?
-Cost: a typical fireplace can add in the range of $1500-$3000 to the price of a new home.
- Governmental Restrictions: Some counties restrict fireplaces. Others prohibit wood burning fireplaces, eliminating the possibility of a backup heating source independent of utilities.
- Social media and entertainment emphasis: changing lifestyles
People who choose to have a fireplace in today's new homes usually choose to emphasize it as a focal point. They really want the warmth it can bring into a home, and they are careful to choose a community where fireplaces are allowed - and wood logs or gas fuels are easy to come by.