The Official Online Newspaper of NAHB
NAHB’s typical single-family builder member last year rang up about $1.36 million in business, employed 7.5 people and started 19 housing units, according to a special study by Housing Economics based on annual census data of the association's membership.
The relatively small percentage of single-family builders who also engage in multifamily construction tended to have somewhat larger operations.
Reflecting difficult conditions in the housing market, the association’s ranks of single-family builders dropped from 45,198 to 31,630 between 2008 and 2009, a decline of 30%. Already down 56% in 2008 from their peak, single-family housing starts fell another 28% in 2009, slumping to their lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking them in the 1950s.
Another 19,194 NAHB members reported that single-family building was a secondary operation for their company in 2009, down more than 50% of the 39,745 members who reported some sideline business in single-family construction the year before.
Following are some of the details profiling 2009 NAHB members who specialize in single-family construction:
- Ninety-two percent of the single-family builders engaged in at least one type of secondary activity. Roughly 45% were involved in residential remodeling, 15% in land development, 10% in planning and designing, 7% in commercial general contracting and 6% in carpentry work.
- The more than 90% of single-family members who were not involved in multifamily started an average of 14 units last year. Those who also built multifamily averaged 72 starts — 48 single-family and 24 multifamily.
- The single-family builders overall reported a median of $1.36 million in business activity for 2009, but those who built single-family exclusively brought in a median $1.16 million compared to $3.23 million for those who mixed single-family with multifamily.
- Single-family builder members in general had an average of 7.5 employees on their payroll, of which 4.2 were construction workers and 3.3 were carrying out such responsibilities as administration, bookkeeping, marketing and managing. Subcontracting work to independent contractors is a common practice among builders. In a Builders' Economic Council survey conducted by NAHB in 2005, 80% of the builders reported subcontracting at least three-fourths of their construction work.
Single-family builders who don’t build multifamily housing had an average of 6.4 workers on the payroll in 2009, of which 3.7 were construction employees and 2.7 non-construction employees. Those who also worked on multifamily homes averaged 19.8 paid employees — 9.9 construction workers and 9.8 non-construction.
- Although they may not have built any in 2009, 16% of single-family builder members reported that they build age-restricted housing for people 55 and older.
- The single-family builders said that they had been members of NAHB for an average of 15 years, with 63% reporting a membership of 10 years or more.
The median age of NAHB’s single-family builder members last year was 53 years, 95% were male, 55% had completed college or an advanced degree and 29% had some college education.
For more information on the study, e-mail Rose Quint at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8527.