Homebuilders are reducing the size of the houses they build to cut costs, but the builders believe there are greater potential savings in the elimination of local land-use restrictions, a recent survey shows.

Conducted by Professional Builder magazine, the nationwide survey found that builders saw potential for significant cost-cutting in these areas, listed in order of importance: less land-use restrictions by communities, smaller homes, innovative financing, higher density, new building methods, faster building and labor savings.

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed say they are building smaller homes than they did in previous years, 71 percent have increased their project density, and 39 percent said they are including fewer amenities as standard features of their homes.

At the same time, 63 percent said they are not cutting quality.

A majority said they are not eliminating energy conservation features to cut costs. Most builders put in features that add $32 to monthly mortgage costs but save the homeowner $44 a month in energy costs, the magazine said.

The median cost of materials and labor increased from $28,750 in 1976 to $33,665 this year, according to the survey. In the same period, median sales price rose from $40,836 to $64,441, Professional Builder said. Construction time for a home dropped from an average of 79 days in 1976 to 84 days in 1981.

"The survey clearly shows that builders are trying to strike a balance between the need for affordable housing and the need for housing that meets high construction standards," Roy Diez, editor of Professional Builder, said in a statement. Savings Seen In Ending --Land-Use Laws

Homebuilders are reducing the size of the houses they build to cut costs, but the builders believe there are greater potential savings in the elimination of local land-use restrictions, a recent survey shows.

Conducted by Professional Builder magazine, the nationwide survey found that builders saw potential for significant cost-cutting in these areas, listed in order of importance: less land-use restrictions by communities, smaller homes, innovative financing, higher density, new building methods, faster building and labor savings.

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed say they are building smaller homes than they did in previous years, 71 percent have increased their project density, and 39 percent said they are including fewer amenities as standard features of their homes.

At the same time, 63 percent said they are not cutting quality.

A majority said they are not eliminating energy conservation features to cut costs. Most builders put in features that add $32 to monthly mortgage costs but save the homeowner $44 a month in energy costs, the magazine said.

The median cost of materials and labor increased from $28,750 in 1976 to $33,665 this year, according to the survey. In the same period, median sales price rose from $40,836 to $64,441, Professional Builder said. Construction time for a home dropped from an average of 79 days in 1976 to 84 days in 1981.

"The survey clearly shows that builders are trying to strike a balance between the need for affordable housing and the need for housing that meets high construction standards," Roy Diez, editor of Professional Builder, said in a statement.