According to data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), the custom home share declined to 19.5 percent of all single-family homes started in 2018—lowest since mid-2000. Contractor-built or owner-built houses – that together make up the custom home market – are built one at a time for owner occupancy on owner’s land with either the owner or a builder acting as the general contractor. The alternative is homes built for sale, on the builder’s land, with the intention of selling the house and land in one transaction.
While the percent share of custom homes slightly declined from 20.3 percent in 2017 to 19.5 percent in 2018, the number of custom homes started in 2018 was 172,000, the same as in 2017.
When analyzed by the 9 census divisions, the highest custom home share in 2018 was in the East South-Central Divisions where 37.1 percent of new homes started were custom built. In the South Atlantic Division, on the other hand, the share was only 13.0 percent.
In the East South-Central Division, 34.9 percent of new homes started were contractor-built or owner-built houses, followed by New England at 34.2 percent, and the Middle Atlantic Division at 33.8 percent. In the West North Central 22.7 percent of new homes started where custom homes. Less than 20 percent of the custom-built homes were started in Pacific Division (17.3 percent), West South-Central Division (16.8 percent) and Mountain Division (13.4 percent).