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Home Building Shifting to Rural and Small Counties

NAHB: 10.5% of all single-family homes built in 4Q 2021 were constructed in rural areas, up from 10% in 4Q 2020; for multifamily units, it was 6% vs 4.1%.

WASHINGTON – Data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) indicates that the market share of single-family and multifamily homes constructed in rural markets increased over the past year, and such growth appears to be on the rise.

NAHB’s Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) found that 10.5% of all single-family homes built in 2021’s fourth quarter were constructed in rural areas, up from 10% in 2020’'s fourth quarter.

In addition, 6% of multifamily units were constructed in rural areas, compared to just 4.1% a year ago. The HBGI defined “rural areas” as “micro counties” and “non-metro/micro counties” designations by the U.S. Census Bureau, the basis of the data.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, those counties represented approximately 14% of the U.S. population, but the portion of home building was 16.5%. Changing market conditions were chiefly responsible for the market-share gains.

While the most severe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are receding, many home buyers continue to look outside large metro areas for their homes. An unprecedented shortage of buildable lots is also prompting builders and developers to look farther for places to build their communities. 

Source: NAHB Now (04/08/22)

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