New Construction Timeline: How Long It Takes to Build a House

You’ve signed the sales contract for a new construction house. You’ve heard the pitch from the builder, but you’re not sure what to expect. How long does it take to build a new construction house? At Felix, we want all homebuyers to have the best information possible to make the right decisions. We’ll explain the construction time frame, how it varies across the U.S., and tips to avoid delays.

What Are The Steps Of The Home Building Process: Week-By-Week Timeline

Image of the exterior of a new construction home being built.

Every new build is a different story. There are a variety of types of new construction homes, different regional conditions, and other extenuating circumstances. But here’s a general breakdown of the week-by-week timeline of the home building process:

  • Week 1: You should see groundbreaking and site excavation in the first week. You should also expect the installation of footings.
  • Weeks 2 - 3: This is when the foundation comes together. You may see the construction of a slab, crawl space, or basement.
  • Weeks 4 - 5: Framing occurs about a month into construction. You should see the skeleton of your house form.
  • Weeks 6 - 7: Builders install the mechanical features of your house (like the HVAC unit). This includes wires, vents, and plumbing. You will see subcontractors like plumbers and electricians in your house.
  • Weeks 7 - 8: Installation of insulation and drywall occurs during these weeks.
  • Weeks 9 - 11: Your house is starting to look more finished after installing flooring, trim, and paint.
  • Weeks 12 - 13: Your house’s exterior comes together at this time with bricks, siding, or stucco installation.
  • Week 14: Many interior finishes are installed at this time, like countertops, electrical fixtures, cabinets, faucets, built-ins, and appliances.
  • Week 15: Driveways and walkways come to life at this stage.
  • Week 16: Your builders start cleaning up the interior to be ready for future inspections.
  • Week 17: Landscaping and other outdoor details are added during week seventeen. For many new builds, landscaping is minimal.
  • Week 18: Inspections happen at this point.
  • Week 19: You get to do a final walkthrough at this point with the builder to ensure all issues that came up during inspection are resolved.
  • Week 20: It’s closing day. You have a new house, and you’re a homeowner. Congratulations!

Average Time To Build A New Construction House By Home Type

There are many variations to a new construction house. Let’s break down the different types of houses and the amount of time each new home construction takes.

Custom Home

Image of the exterior of a new construction home built by Hidden Valley Homes

A custom house will take the longest to build. You can expect it to take between 9 to 18 months for home construction. That’s because a custom house is truly customized to fit your tastes. You work directly with an architect and builder to create a unique home just for you. It’s also the most expensive option at $300 - $500 per square foot.

Semi-Custom Home

Image of the exterior of a new construction home built by Celebration Homes

If you want a customized home with a faster build time, then a semi-custom home may be for you. With a semi-custom home, you choose a community that a semi-custom home builder is working in and then get to work. You choose a home design from their set of floor plans, and then you customize the home to your specifications. The process ranges from 6 to 18 months. The more customization you do, the longer the build time. You can expect to pay $100 - $500 per square foot on a semi-custom house.

Spec Home

Image of the exterior of a new construction home built by Reda Home Builders

If you like the look of a semi-custom home and need a new home fast, try a spec home. A spec home is brand new, but the builder made all the design decisions. They built the house like a semi-custom home, hoping that a buyer would buy it as soon as it was complete. You can theoretically move into an available and completed spec home ASAP! Depending on the area and the upgrades, you can pay between $100 - $500 per square foot for a spec home.

Tract Home

Image of the exterior of a new construction home built by Hawkins Homes

Tract homes are perfect for buyers who need a home fast but can’t afford a spec home. Tract homes are brand new homes that builders customize. They often build large subdivisions and houses in bulk. There can be a cookie-cutter feel to these subdivisions. But it can be a good budget option for the person looking for an affordable home that is ready right now. You can expect to pay between $60 - $115 per square foot.

Townhome or Condo

Image of the exterior of a new townhouse

Townhomes and condos are usually available as soon as possible in most cities. Townhomes and condos are houses with shared walls. Condos differ from townhomes by being smaller. Both townhomes and condos will vary in cost. Typically ones located closer to the city center are more expensive than those in the suburbs. This is a great option for someone needing a new home fast that doesn’t want or need a yard.

Fully Renovated Existing Home

Image of the exterior of a fully renovated existing home

The time it takes to renovate an existing house can vary. If you’re buying a house intending to renovate, it can take as long as a custom home (9 to 18 months). But you can also buy a home that is already renovated or flipped that is move-in ready. Renovating a home can cost $15,000 and $200,000 in addition to the cost of the house.

Average Time To Build A New Construction House By Region

The average build time for a new construction in the U.S. was 7.2 months in 2021. But that number can vary widely when you consider the type of house. For a tract or spec house, that time is around 6.5 months, and for a custom house, it averages just over 12 months.

The average time to build a house also varies based on the region of the U.S. Here’s how the different parts of the U.S. stack up.


  • Average build time: 10.7 months
  • States included: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
  • The Northeast has the highest build times for a few reasons. First, weather often affects build time. If it is too wet or too cold, it can delay construction. You will also see greater delays with issues relating to building permits in urban areas (and there are a lot of urban areas in this part of the country). Finally, accessibility to construction labor can hold up jobs as well.


  • Average build time: 8.0 months
  • States included: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.


  • Average build time: 7.6 months
  • States included: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.


  • Average build time: 6.5 months
  • States included: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
  • You will see the lowest build times in the South. Conditions are ideal for construction, and builders can work most days of the year in mild conditions. There is also more availability of workers, and lag time will not be as big of an issue in the South.

Is It Possible To Move Into A New Construction Home Immediately?

Yes. You will just need to choose a move-in-ready new construction home. Move-in-ready homes are usually classified as either spec or tract homes. The advantage of going this route is that you can quickly move into a brand-new home. The downside is that you won’t get to customize your brand-new home.

You can find brand-new move-in-ready homes with Felix. Sign up now to begin your home search!

What Can Cause Delays When Building A New Construction Home?

There are many reasons that a new construction build can get off schedule. There’s a lot that goes into building a home from the ground up. The best way to prevent this is to be aware of where things can go off the rails. Here are a few of the most common reasons for delays with new construction below.

Finding the right plot of land

Image of a man surveying land.

Sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect plot of land, and other times you may think the land is ideal only to find some issues. You can run into problems with zoning, utilities, and more. It may be worthwhile to use a Realtor and even your prospective builder when you select land. You can also go for a lot in a development, and have the builder do all the heavy lifting here.

Delays with financing

If you’re not paying your builder, they are likely to halt construction. There are a few reasons delays with financing occurs. First, did you apply for the right type of financing? It helps to explore all of your options as you pick the right lender and loan to get the job done. The other issue that comes up with financing is inaccurate estimates. Be sure to choose a builder with experience that has an excellent reputation. They are likely to have the experience to give more accurate estimates.

Pre-construction and permitting

Before construction can begin, the local government must approve your construction plans. This takes time, costs money in fees, and requires getting everything just right. So many delays pop up before construction begins. It helps to pick a builder who has experience with the process and can navigate issues.

The weather and environment

Image of construction equipment in the snow

Most of the building process for your new construction house occurs outdoors. So the weather and environment matter. Extreme weather can really set back your timeline. This includes excessive heat, precipitation, snow, or other significant weather events. There’s not much you can do about the weather, and some regions of the U.S. have slower build times for this reason.

Availability of workers

Sometimes the construction of a home gets put on pause because there are not enough workers. This happens because the scheduling of subcontractors gets behind. For example, drywall contractors cannot begin work until the framers complete their job. In general, the U.S. is struggling with labor shortages. The construction industry is no different. You will need a general contractor, but also all necessary subcontractors as well. So there can be a significant lag time when there are not enough workers to complete a job.

Availability of supplies and materials

Image of a new construction home being built

If you choose unavailable materials, it can delay the construction of your house. So think carefully when customizing your home. It may be worthwhile to use materials the builder has on hand rather than delaying the construction of your house.

Changes to the original plan

Interested In Buying Or Building Your Dream Home?

The best way to find new construction homes for sale or qualified and reputable builders is to contact Felix. We’ll alert you whenever a new home that matches your criteria is being built. Plus, we can introduce you to vetted builders. At Felix, we’ll learn a little about what you are looking for in a home. Then we will guide you throughout the process, from choosing the best area to picking a reputable builder and managing the construction process.

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