How Long Does it Take to Build a House?

June 24, 2019 9:00 am How Long Does it Take to Build a House Published by

Building a house is perhaps one of the most important milestones of your life. Whether this is your first time dealing with this process or not, this is an event that will affect your life for quite a few years to come. As such, it is not a process that should be rushed. 

Of course, you probably don’t want to hear that at the moment. After years of saving, you are probably eager to get the keys and start setting up your new home. This is the point where you must have patience and wait for the workers to do their job. Remember; if you rush the work, you will probably get bad results.

Let’s get right to the point of the matter. When you commission a new home, you are looking at a wait time of approximately 6-7 months. To verify this fact, you can take a look at some of the research that we have gathered for this purpose. 

First of all, let’s look at a national construction survey carried out by the U.S. Department Of The Census. Not only does this survey confirm the 6-7 month time frame, but it also tells us some other interesting things.

It seems that the Federal Reserve uses this census data as part of their normal economic diagnostics. Likewise, the Department Of Housing And Urban Development (HUD), uses this kind of data to “develop and evaluate” their housing plans. 

This survey from the National Association of Home Builders concluded much the same thing. The average home construction project takes about 7 months to complete.

How Long Does It Take To Get Past All The Red Tape?

Before a single brick can be laid or a single speck of concrete can be poured, you will have to jump through some bureaucratic hoops. Fortunately, the census bureau can help us once again. 

These figures will give you an idea of how long it will take you to go from an idea and an application to an active project. As you will see, the time frame will depend greatly upon the size of the house and the method by which it is being built.

For instance, a single-unit building will take less time to approve than a multi-unit building. Approval time for a single-unit house will take somewhere between 0.9 and 1.4 months. In other words, anywhere from a month to a month-and-a-half. By contrast, a multi-unit home will take between 1.5 and 2.1 months. Mostly, this variance will depend on how many units the building actually contains. 

Why Does It Take So Long?

There is a lot more to the process than you might imagine. In the old days, people had it much easier in this department. All they had to do was make a hut from sticks, and then throw mud at the walls until it was covered. But before you go pining for the days of mud huts, remember all the advantages of a modern home. Those advantages are the primary reason that the process of building a home takes so long. 

If the workers only had to build a structure, they would be done very quickly. However, your contractors and subcontractors will need to install electrical systems, water lines, HVAC ducts, and a whole lot more. Not only that, but they have to deal with a huge bunch of regulations that the average person will never even have to see. 

Things That Can Delay The Home Building Process

There are several factors that can cause undue delay during this process. First, we should talk about custom homes. If you have chosen to have your home custom-built, your contractors will probably have to work with some uncommon designs and very specific requirements. There is no way to rush this process without compromising the results. 

A custom home can take 10 to 16 weeks to build. Also, the process can be easily delayed via indecision on the part of the customer (that means you). What we mean is this; you should try not to change the instructions after the work order has been placed. Any change to the plans will force the supervisors to re-plan the entire process, and could even force them to undo some of the work that has already been done. Not only does this cost time, but it also costs more money.

Let’s consider the crucial factor of location. By taking another look at the NAHB data that we have already examined, we can see that the time it takes to approve and build a new home will also vary by state and region. Let’s take a look at the differences between the different regions for easy reference. First, we will take a look at the approval stage:

  • Pacific Coast: 31 days
  • South Atlantic: 30 days
  • West South Central: 27 days
  • New England: 27 days
  • West North Central: 23 days
  • East North Central: 22 days
  • Mid-Atlantic: 22 days
  • East South Central: 21 days
  • Rocky Mountains: 15 days

Now let’s look at the time frame from approval to completion. Bear in mind that these are average time frames, so your experience may vary:

  • Mid-Atlantic: 9.5 months
  • New England: 9 months
  • Pacific Coast: 8 months
  • East North Central: 8 months
  • West North Central: 7 months
  • West South Central: 7 months
  • East South Central: 7 months
  • South Atlantic: 6-7 months
  • Rocky Mountains: 6 months


We hope that this article has given you a better idea of the time frames that you can expect when you begin the process of building your new home. It should be noted that all of these times are averages, so don’t panic if your wait times end up being a little bit longer. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a contractor such as Southdown Homes who can do the job both efficiently and adequately. Please fill out the contact form if you would like to know more.