Buyers who want to build a new single-family home may have a long wait. On average, the expected wait time until the house is ready to move in is about 7.5 months, according to Census Bureau data. This includes waiting for almost a month for the permit process to start and then 6.5 months to finish construction.
Build times can vary, particularly if the home is built for sale or is custom-built. Houses for sale tended to take the shortest amount of time, averaging 6.9 months in 2017 from permit to completion. Houses that are custom-built by owners required the longest time, averaging 12.3 months.
Of the single-family homes built in 2017, about 32 percent were sold before construction started; 29 percent were sold while under construction; 11 percent were sold during the month of completion; and 17 percent were sold after completion, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ analysis of the Census data.
Build times can also vary regionally. For example, the New England region tends to have the longest build times at 10.4 months, followed by the Middle Atlantic region at 10.3 months, East South Central at 9.4 months, East North Central at 8.2 months, and the Pacific region at 8.5 months. The shortest build times tend to be in the South Atlantic division, which averages 6.4 months.