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Home Wasn’t Built in a Day

For folks considering building a house from the ground up, they’ll have to sit tight a fair bit before moving in. And depending on the part of the country they call home, that wait could stretch into the double digits, all of this according to the National Association of Home Builders that cited data from the Census Bureau’s 2017 Survey of Construction (SOC).

The average completion time of a single-family home hovers around 7.5 months, the newly released survey says. That figure typically includes nearly a month from authorization to start, plus another 6.5 months to complete the construction, it notes.

That authorization-to-completion timeline fluctuates across the nation and hinges on geographic location, metropolitan status, and whether the property is erected for sale or if it’s custom-built. From obtaining a building permit to completing the project, it can take anywhere from under a month to 77 months to build a single-family home, according to the SOC.

When considering all the single-family builds wrapped up last year, those constructed for sale took the least time: 6.9 months from scoring the permits to ending the job, the report says. By contrast, customized dwellings took the most time, at 12.3 months. Those created by hired contractors were in process for about nine months.

A lion’s share of single-family homes built for sale and custom-made ones built on owners’ land launched construction within the same month after securing building authorizations, the SOC said. Custom residences built by owners who served as general contractors, however, had a one-month gap between getting permits and kicking off construction.

The average time from authorization to completion in 2017 also differed across country divisions, according to the report. New England netted the longest time (10.4 months), trailed closely by the Middle Atlantic (10.3 months), East South Central (9.4 months), East North Central (8.2 months), and Pacific (8.5 months), the SOC found. Together, these five chalked up an average permit-to-completion time eclipsing the 7.5-month U.S. average. The South Atlantic division registered the shortest timeframe, at 6.4 months.

What’s more, the average waiting period from permit to construction launch spanned from the shortest time of 17 days in the Mountain division to the longest of 39 days in the Pacific.

Metro-area homes took an average 7.3 months to finish—a full two months shorter than their non-metropolitan-area counterparts. This same pattern played out all over the U.S. last year, save for the West North Central division. There, the average time to completion in metropolitan locations charted longer than in non-metro zones, the SOC survey said.

Learn more about the Census Bureau's monthly housing starts data:

Are Rising Housing Starts Really Balancing Demand?

About Author: Alison Rich

Alison Rich has a long-time tenure in the writing and editing realm, touting an impressive body of work that has been featured in local and national consumer and trade publications spanning industries and audiences. She has worked for DS News and MReport magazines—both in print and online—since they launched.

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