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

The Census Bureau’s 2018 Survey of Construction [1]reports the average completion time of a single-family house is around 7.7 months, which includes a month for authorization and another 6.7 months for construction. 

The survey, as reported by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB),  [2]reveals completion time varies depending on geographic location, metropolitan status, and whether the house is built for sale or custom-built. 

Houses built for sale in 2018 required the shortest time—7 months from obtaining building permits to completion. Homes built by owners required the longest time at 12.5 months.  Additionally, homes built by contractors were completed in around 9.4 months. 

“A large proportion of single-family homes built for sale and custom homes built by contractors on owners’ land began construction within the same month after obtaining building authorizations,” the report states. “However, custom homes built by owners serving as general contractors had a little over one-month lag between obtaining permits and the start of construction in 2018.”

The area of the country with the longest construction time was the Middle Atlantic at 10.5 months, followed by New England (9.9 months), the East South Central (9 months), Pacific (8.9 months), and the East North Central (8.5 months). 

According to the Census Bureau, these five divisions had an average time from permit to completion exceeding the nation’s average of 7.7 months. 

The shortest construction timeline was 6.6 months in the South Atlantic region. Also, the average waiting period from permit to construction start varies from 18 days in the Mountain division to the longest time of 40 days in the Pacific. 

Houses in metropolitan areas took an average of 7.5 months from permit to completion, which was 1.3 months shorter than those in non-metropolitan areas. The Census Bureau reports this pattern was consistent across the nation, except for New England and the Middle Atlantic, where the average completion time in metro area was longer in non-metropolitan areas in 2018.