How Did Custom Home Building Fare in the First Quarter?

May 20, 2020
Neighborhood Aerial
By arinahabich

Though the home building industry took a hit this spring, custom builders were able to swing a 10 percent increase over the first quarter of 2019, according to NAHB. Over the past four quarters, custom housing starts rang in at 180,000, a 3 percent increase over the prior four quarter total. According to an NAHB analysis, low interest rates and mild winter weather were the wind beneath custom builders' wings, keeping enough clients rolling in to finish Q1 with modest gains. 

NAHB’s analysis of Census Data from the Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design survey indicates custom home building posted a small increase during the first three months of the year, supported by low interest rates and unseasonably mild weather in January and February. While housing construction starts declined in March, and considerably more in April, on net the first quarter was a positive one for custom home builders.

There were 32,000 total custom building starts during the first quarter of 2020. This marks a 10% gain over the first quarter 2019 total of 29,000. Over the last four quarters, custom housing starts totaled 180,000, which was a 3% increase over the prior four quarter total of 170,000 starts.

As measured on a one-year moving average, the market share of custom home building in terms of total single-family starts is now 20%, down from a cycle high of 31.5% set during the second quarter of 2009

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