Homebuilder profit margins tighten as housing market slows


Association of Professional Builders releases new guidelines to ensure “for-profit pricing” remains stable

Houston, TX

–Direct News–

The Association of Professional Builders (APB)today announced new guidelines to keep small homebuilders profitable, as 75% operate with a net profit margin of 3% or less1. As a leading business coaching service for custom home builders, with members in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, these profit margin guidelines are even more important now, given the slowdown in the housing market, difficult supply chain and labor shortage issues. Additionally, the APB’s State of the Homebuilding Industry (SORCI) report reveals that smaller homebuilders aren’t charging the correct markup because they don’t have the demand.

Some of the guidelines recommended by the APB include:

A 2022 report from New York University’s Stern School of Business2 revealed that the average builder’s margin among large construction companies was nearly 25%, resulting in these companies enjoying a net margin of 12.73%. However, while most homebuilders aren’t currently adding 25% to their projects, those that do will still not approach a double-digit net profit margin.

“The reason the NYU report companies are delivering double-digit net profit margins is simple; they add a 25% margin for builders to the cost of their labor and materials,” Russ Stephens said. , co-founder of APB. “However, simply adding 25% to the cost of labor and materials does not equate to a 25% margin for builders; it is a markup for builders and will result in a 20% margin for builders.A typical residential construction company operates on a fixed expense ratio, which includes operating costs such as rent, salaries and administration, of approximately 15%. builders make the simple mistake of adding 25% markup instead of 25% margin, this halves the net profit margin of builders. And when a construction company cuts its margin to gain a job, it can very easily end up without any bottom line.”

APB has identified that allocating 3% of a construction company’s total revenue to marketing and advertising is what allows successful companies to enjoy a 10% net margin due to a fundamental law in business. “There is clear evidence that margins are tied to marketing due to the fundamental law of supply and demand,” Stephens said. “When demand exceeds supply, prices go up and when prices go up, margins go up and businesses become more profitable.”

APB reports that construction companies that use paid advertising to increase demand for their services are able to continually increase their margin until they reach the industry benchmark of 33.3% for homes. new with a net profit margin of 10% to 15%. When it comes to profitability, it’s imperative for builders to understand their financials and document a repeatable sales process while generating more leads than they actually need.


The current market is made worse by rising mortgage rates and competitive home prices that weed out buyers faster, especially when housing inventory levels are lower.

Additionally, according to the US Census Bureau3, the start of construction of new residential homes fell to 1.45 million in July, down 9.6% from the previous month. As a result, homebuilders have an ever-increasing task to ensure they price for profit by carefully calculating their net profit margins.

Therefore, it is important for consumers to understand that the only construction companies that will be there to complete their home are those that make a net profit. Picking a builder with the lowest price will simply pair them with the construction companies most likely to fail in the coming months. APB advises that now is the time if a homeowner is considering building a home. The company notes that the most important factor to understand is that construction costs won’t be reduced anytime soon. In fact, they are more likely to continue rising for a few more years. Therefore, delaying a project now will only mean having to find more money in the future.

APB also notes that owners should understand the actual price based on the quote at the time of receipt. If an owner’s project was quoted more than 30 days before the contract was signed, be prepared for the builder to revise the contract price based on weekly price increases that occur in the industry. If the builder does not re-evaluate a quote that was provided more than three months before your contract was signed, it could enter into an onerous contract. The construction companies that will still be in business in 2023 are the professional operators who recalculate their costs every 30 days.

For more information and to access APB resources, visit: https://associationofprofessionalbuilders.com/resources.

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1 https://associationofprofessionalbuilders.com/sorci/

2 https://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/margin.html

3 https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/pdf/newresconst.pdf


The Association of Professional Builders is a leading business coaching service for custom home builders in the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It provides tested and proven systems that enable builders to evolve and succeed, based on data, experience and results. For more information visit: https://associationofprofessionalbuilders.com.

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