Armchair Builder

How Many People Built Their Own Home in 2014?

Owner Builder Home

If you are visiting Armchair Builder for the first time you may be asking yourself, “exactly how many people built their own home in 2014?”  After all, it can be a complicated, time consuming endeavor that many people aren’t prepared to handle.  To answer this question we take a look at the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics…yes, they do actually track the data on the number of owner built homes.  Let’s take a look at some of the preliminary numbers from 2014 to see how things shake out.

The Census Bureau Numbers

So how does the government track the number of homes built by owner?  The data comes from the Builder Permits Survey and from the Survey of Construction, which is partially funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The data is for new, privately owned housing units, excluding manufactured mobile homes.  It’s important to keep in mind the numbers for 2014 are preliminary, so they may be revised slightly later this year.

What exactly does Owner Built mean?

Before we answer the question, “How many people built their own home in 2014”, we need to clarify what is meant by the term owner built.  When someone fills out a permit as the owner builder, they are telling the local building department that they will be in charge of managing the project as the general contractor.  In essence, this tells the code enforcement officials that the owner is in charge.  The owner doesn’t have to do any physical labor…they can be managing the project and not be doing any of the actual work.  In this case, they are the owner builder who hires trade contractors to perform the work.  An owner builder can also perform some or all of the work but in all cases, they are considered the general contractor and are responsible for overall quality, budget, and schedule.

How Many People Built Their Own Home in 2014?

So exactly how many people built their own home in 2014 according to the census bureau?  According to the U.S. Census Bureau table Q1, New Privately Owned Housing Units Started by Purpose and Design, 50,000 privately owned homes were started last year by owner builders in the U.S.  Here are the numbers of owner built homes started in 2014 broken down by region…

  • Northeast – 7,000
  • Midwest – 11,000
  • South – 23,000
  • West – 9,000
Keep in mind, there are locations throughout the country (typically rural areas) that do not issue building permits.  Because of this, the number of owner built homes built in these non-permit issuing areas will not be included in the data.  This could be a significant number of homes being built by owner.

What Do The Numbers Tell Us?

So what can we learn from the owner built permit data?  If 50k people can build their own home in the U.S. in a single year, there must be enough resources and help to make this a viable option for many folks.  Are you thinking about building your own home?  Stop by our owner builder resources page to see some of the tools available to help you.

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