Red Houses, Blue Houses: The State Of Home Building In the United States

Single-family home construction dominates in red counties, while multifamily construction rules blue counties.

That’s the conclusion of the National Association of Home Builders’ fourth quarter Home Building Geography Index, which examines building trends across the country by using county-level permitting to measure construction growth.

Using election results from 2016, NAHB examines building trends in Republican (red) and Democratic (blue) counties.

Red county highlights – where 48.7 percent of the U.S. population lives – for the fourth quarter include:

  • 60.9 percent of single-family construction was in red counties across the country in the fourth quarter, compared to 36.4 percent of multifamily construction.
  • 10.3 percent increase year-over-year in single-family construction growth (fourth quarter 2019 vs. a year earlier).
  • Coincidentally, there was a 10.3 percent decrease in single-family construction from the third quarter of 2019.
  • There was a 1.6 percent quarterly growth rate for multifamily construction in the quarter – and a 38.7 percent growth rate over the fourth quarter of 2018.

Blue counties – home to 51.3 percent of the population – put up the following numbers:

  • 63.6 percent of multifamily construction for the quarter was in blue counties, to go along with 39.1 percent of single-family homes.
  • The number of multifamily homes grew by 7.4 percent in the quarter – and grew by 8.5 percent over the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • Single-family building fell by 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter, though it was still 10.2 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Home Building Geography Index examines trends at the urban and rural areas as well. Read the full report here.