How Long Does it Take to Build a Single-Family Home?

Filed in Economics, Trends by on September 30, 2020 9 Comments

The average completion time of a single-family house is around 8.1 months, which usually includes a little over a month from authorization to start and another seven months to finish the construction, according to the 2019 Survey of Construction (SOC) from the Census Bureau.

The average time to build a single-family home has been on an upward trend since 2014, when it took around seven months. The time from authorization to completion varies across the nation and depends on the geographic location, and whether the house is built for sale or custom built.

Among all single-family houses completed in 2019, houses built for sale took the shortest amount of time — seven months from obtaining building permits to completion, while houses built by owners (custom builds) required the longest time, 13.5 months. Homes built by hired contractors normally needed around 9.8 months, and homes built-for-rent took about 12 months from authorization to completion.

Single-family homes built by contractors on owners’ land began construction within the same month after obtaining building authorizations. Custom homes built for sale and built by owners serving as general contractors had one month or a little over a one-month lag between obtaining permits and the start of construction. However, single-family homes built for rent took the longest time, almost two months, from authorization to completion in 2019.

The average time from authorization to completion also varies across divisions. The division with the longest duration was the Middle Atlantic (12.3 months), followed by New England (11.9 months), the Pacific (9.8 months), the East South Central (9.0 months), the East North Central (8.7 months), and West North Central (8.2 months) in 2019.

These six divisions had average time from permit to completion exceeding the nation’s average (8.0 months). The shortest period, 6.9 months, is registered in the South Atlantic division. The average waiting period from permit to construction start varies from 20 days in the Mountain and the East South Central division to 43 days in the Pacific.

NAHB economist Na Zhao provides more details in this Eye on Housing blog post.

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