Is Now A Great Time To Build a Single-Family Home?

According to the Census Bureau’s 2019 Survey of Construction (SOC), the time it takes to complete a single-family house from authorization to completion of construction is 8.1 months. Broken down it is a little more than a month from authorization to start and around 7 months to complete construction. The time is not always the same and will vary due to the geographic location and whether the house is a custom build or built for sale.

Spec homes (homes built for sale) took the shortest time to complete (7 months) in 2019 from obtaining the builder permit to the final inspection while custom builds took 13.5 months. Homes that were built by hired contractors took around 9.8 months which was shorter than built-for-rent homes which took around 12 months from authorization to completion.

The graph shown depicts the time it took according to the data collected in 2019. The longest were homes built by owners on the owner’s land taking about a month and a half to obtain permits and begin construction to a little over a year to completion. Homes built for rent come in next just under 2 months from authorization to start to just over 10 months from the start of construction to completion. Homes built by hired contractors on an owner’s piece of property took a little over 9 months to complete with a little under a month from permits to start and about 8 months to completion. Spec homes took around 7 months with one month for permits and 6 months until completion.

As mentioned earlier, demographics play a role in the amount of time it takes to build a single-family home from obtaining permits to the final inspection. Middle Atlantic (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York) took the longest coming in at 12.3 months, New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) took on average 11.9 months, Pacific (California, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington) took 9.8 months, East South Central (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi) took 9 months, East North Central (Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois) took 8.7 months, West North Central (Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri) took 8.2 months, Mountain (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico) took 7.8 months, West South Central (Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) took 7.4 months and South Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida) came in at the shortest only taking 6.9 months.

So far, it looks like the 2020 Survey of Construction (SOC) will be on the right track. The pace of single-family starts in August was the highest production rate since February of this year.

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