What Areas Grew the Most? Single-Family Home Building in 2020


According to NAHB analysis of the Survey of Construction (SOC), new single-family starts expanded at a fast pace in 2020. Nationally, 993,635 new single-family units were started in 2020, 12% higher than the units started in 2019. It marked the fastest growth rate since 2013 and the highest count of starts since the Great Recession.

Among all the nine Census divisions, the South Atlantic, West South Central and Mountain Divisions led the way with the most new single-family units started in 2020. These three divisions represent 20 states and Washington, D.C., approximately 41% of United States, while the number of new single-family housing starts in these three divisions accounted for about 66% of the total new single-family housing starts in 2020.

In addition, single-family units started in the Pacific Division increased to 101,999 in 2020, exceeding 100,000 for the first year since the 2008 recession. There were 84,095 new single-family units started in the East North Central Division in 2020. While the Pacific Division accounted for 10% of the total new single-family housing starts, the East North Central Division accounted for 8%. The other four divisions, including East South Central, West North Central, Middle Atlantic and New England, accounted for the remaining 16% of the total new single-family housing starts.

In 2020, nationally, new single-family housing starts rose by 12%. Five out of the nine divisions grew faster than the national level of 12%. The New England Division led the way with a 27% increase, followed by the Mountain Division and the East North Central Division with an 19% increase each, the South Atlantic Division and the West South Central Division with a 12% increase each. The growth rates of the other four divisions were below the national level.

Compared to last year, seven out of the nine divisions, including New England, Mountain, East North Central, South Atlantic, West South Central, East South Central and Pacific, had an acceleration in 2020. Meanwhile, the West North Central Division and the Middle Atlantic Division experienced a deceleration in growth in 2020.  Noticeably, the New England Division grew by 27% in 2020, following a decrease of 15% in 2019.

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7 replies

  1. Hi, great report. It’d be great if you could also include territoried like Puerto Rico and USVI into your analysis.

  2. This is very encouraging news and presented in a very useful manner. Thanks for posting.

    I wonder how these numbers would have turned out if the construction industry was shut down like so many others were in the face of the pandemic. Thankfully, most states considered this vital sector to be essential.

  3. Could this information be made more granular into the amounts per each state?

  4. This is a very informative article!
    Current supply problems, from the pandemic, to catastrophes that have plagued the industry in 2020
    and 2021, have made this a very challenging year in the window distribution industry.
    I will share this with contractors, that are in the waiting ABISS—– for windows.
    As the year progresses, we will all be happy to see these problems end. SOMEDAY!

  5. I agree! As demand for single-family homes continues but affordability challenges emerge, developers and builders are increasing construction for single-family built-for-rent projects.

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