Data from the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), with additional analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reveals that custom homes accounted for 17.6% of new single-family homes started in 2022. This share is down slightly from 17.8% recorded in 2021 and is the lowest annual custom home share that has been reported since 2005, when the SOC was re-designed.
The custom home market consists of contractor-built and owner-built houses—homes built one at a time for owner occupancy on the owner’s land, with either the owner or a builder acting as the general contractor. The alternatives are homes built for sale—on the builder’s land, often in a subdivision, with the intention of selling the house and land in a single transaction—or homes built for rent. In 2021, 77.0% of the single-family homes started were built for sale, and only 5.4% were built for rent.
NAHB analysis of the annual SOC data reveals the following for the 9 census divisions:
- The highest custom home share in 2021 was 40.1% in the New England Division.
- In the South Atlantic Division, the share was only 11.5%.
- In the East South-Central Division, 38.8% of new homes started were contractor-built or owner-built houses, followed by the East North-Central Division at 32.8% and 31.5% in the Middle Atlantic Division.
- In the West North-Central Division 20.% of new homes started where custom homes, followed by 15.0% in the West South-Central Division, 14.7% in the Pacific Division, and 12.9% in the Mountain Division.
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