It seems like a rather innocuous question: How long does it take to build a new home?
The inquiry is certainly relevant with Maricopa remaining a hotbed for new residential construction.
Many national economic issues are a factor, including a lack of skilled workers and supply-chain delays.
The answer, however, is far from simple. In fact, it needs to be broken down into two categories — historical, which includes concrete numbers captured in government statistics, and current, which is murkier with various delaying factors and many in the business of constructing and selling such homes opting not to weigh in.
A look back
The U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent data (2021) from the Survey of Construction finds the average time from start to completion of private, residential homes to be 7.6 months. For comparison, that time nearly doubles to 14.3 months for owner-built homes and falls to 6.7 months for build-for-sale (spec) homes.
Sticking with single-family homes, geography plays a major factor. Average build times in 2020 based on region were:
- Northeast: 10.7 months
- Midwest: 7.4 months
- South: 5.9 months
- West: 7.5 months
Locally, in wrapping up the 2021 real estate market for InMaricopa, Realtor Brian Petersheim Sr. wrote the year saw “some of the longest construction times quoted by builders due to some supply issues.
“In the past, builders were quoting 6-8 months from contract to move-in for a new home. Currently, the builders are quoting 10 months to a year. Recently, some of those buyers coming up to the year mark are being notified that it will be several more months until completion.”
The real estate market changes frequently, but that’s not to say that some of the same problems facing the industry 18 months ago, don’t still exist to some degree. Some challenges have existed for years and include:
- Skilled worker shortage: There were 7.7 million construction workers in 2007 (before the Great Recession), but only 7.5 million 14 years later when demand was much higher.
- Shortage/high costs of supplies: The list of items here includes, but is certainly not limited to, lumber, concrete, paint, furniture, appliances and even shipping containers to move the products.
- Weather: Extreme temperature shifts and/or too much precipitation impact home construction. This, of course, is less of an issue in Maricopa and the West than in other parts of the country.
Add those factors together, along with the economy in general, and those promised construction times were closer to 18 months in 2022, says Alec Wible, a sales associate for Richmond American Homes at Seasons at the Lakes at Rancho El Dorado III.
“But we started getting more trade workers back and the supplies became more available, so now we’re looking at 10 months to a year — from dirt to completion,” Wible adds. “It’s something that changes about every two months though.”
Stay tuned. The home-building timeframes will undoubtedly continue to evolve.
This content was previously published in the June issue of InMaricopa Magazine.