Average Wait Time for New Home: 6 Months

January 9, 2015

For buyers looking to build a new home, they should be prepared to wait roughly half a year before the home is completed. On average, it takes about six months to build a single-family home, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

A tight labor market may be partially to blame for the long construction times, developer Rick Judson, a former chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, told The Wall Street Journal. The strength of the single-family home labor market can cause construction times to go up or down, even in the best and worst of times. For example, construction times tend to rise during the housing boom days when demand is high. Construction times rose from an average of 6.1 months in 2002 to 6.9 months in 2006. But after the housing market crisis, the delays grew even longer as builders treaded more cautiously. The average build-time in 2009 topped out at 7.9 months.

“Many tradespeople simply went out of business and aren’t coming back,” Judson told The Wall Street Journal. “They either retooled themselves educationally, moved into a different business, or simply retired.”

But besides labor force pressures, weather has a lot to do with new-home build times as well, Judson notes.

“When you have freezing weather in the Northeast, you can’t pour concrete,” Judson says. “You don’t get the productivity out of contractors and subcontractors that you would in the more temperate days of spring, summer, and fall.”

Not surprising then, build times are consistently longest in the Northeast and shortest in the warmer regions of the West and South.

Here are the average new home wait-times by region:

  • Northeast: 8.4 months
  • South: 5.5 months
  • West: 5.6 months
  • Midwest: 6.7 months

Source: “Average Time to Build a House: 6 Months,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 7, 2015)