nahb.org – Much like it counts people every 10 years, the US government counts American businesses every 5 years. This is done through the Economic Census, which is conducted by the Census Bureau in years ending in 2 and 7. Results for the residential construction industry for 2012 were recently released, officially confirming what we already knew: a significant number of builders went out of business in the five years between 2007 and 2012.
According to this official count, the number of establishments whose primary activity is new residential construction fell from 98,067 in 2007 to 48,557 in 2012, a dramatic 50 percent decline. The latest tally is the lowest number of builders reported by the Economic Census since 1997, the first time builders were reported separately from remodelers.
NAHB’s records, meanwhile, show builder membership (single-family and multifamily) falling from 57,095 in 2007 to 26,421 in 2012–a 54% drop. The similar contractions experienced by the overall industry (50%) and NAHB (54%) during this five-year period demonstrate that NAHB’s loss of builder members was a mere reflection of the overall disappearance of new residential builders from the American economy.
It is important to note, however, that the slightly higher decline of NAHB’s membership is largely due to the fact that our members can have multiple memberships in multiple local associations, and therefore the loss of one establishment for the Economic Census can mean the loss of multiple membership records for NAHB.