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Who Are NAHB’s Associate Members?

Special Studies, May 1, 2019
By Carmel Ford
Economics and Housing Policy
National Association of Home Builders
Report available to the public as a courtesy of HousingEconomics.com

Starting in 2008, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has conducted an annual census to collect company and demographic data from its members. Results are subsequently published here in HousingEconomics.com.

This article updates previous findings with results from the 2018 annual census on the characteristics of NAHB’s associate members. Associate members are involved in a wide range of support industries and professions including, among others, trade contractors, manufacturers, retailers/distributors, designers, and architects. Builder members are defined as those whose primary business is single-family home building, multifamily building, residential or commercial remodeling, commercial building, land development, or manufacturing of modular/panelized/log homes. At the end of 2018, 79,867 associate members represented 68 percent of the total NAHB membership. Builder members make up the remaining 32 percent and an article highlighting them will be published next month on housingeconomics.com.

40% of Associate Members are Subcontractors/Specialty Trade Contractors

Associate members could self-identify as one of 42 specialties when selecting a primary activity. These activities are grouped into 6 broader categories: 40 percent of associate members are subcontractors/specialty trade contractors, 13 percent have a professional specialty, 11 percent are retail dealers/distributors, 10 percent work in financial services, and 5 percent are wholesale dealers/distributors. Twenty percent of members listed some ‘other associate’ activity (such as manufacturing or real estate) as their primary business activity (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1. Share of Associate Members by Primary Business Activity - 2018

The share of associate members involved in any one of the 42 activities did not change significantly from 2017 to 2018 (Exhibit 2). A look back at the history of the series shows that subcontractors have gone from representing 34 percent of all associate members in 2008 to 40 percent in 2018, professional specialties have stayed at 12 or 13 percent for much of the series, retail dealers/distributors at 10 to 13 percent, financial services at 7 to 10 percent, wholesale dealers/distributors at 3 to 6 percent, and associate members in ‘other’ activities have represented 15 to 23 percent of all associate members during this period.

Exhibit 2. Primary Business Activity – HISTORY

52% of Associates Have 10 or More Employees

In 2018, associate members had a median[1] of 10 employees on payroll. The median number of employees has varied from 10 to 11 since 2015. Eight percent of associate members had 1 employee, 18 percent had 2 to 4 employees, 19 percent had 5 to 9, 35 percent had 10 to 49, 6 percent had 50 to 99 employees, and 11 percent had 100 or more employees. Two percent had no payroll at all (Exhibit 3).

Exhibit 3. Total Number of Employees on Payroll - 2018

The median number of employees on an associate member’s payroll varies significantly by the company’s primary activity. For example, associates who work in financial services reported a median of 22 paid employees in 2018, compared to a median of 7 employees among those in professional specialties, 10 among subcontractors/specialty trade contractors, and 12 among retail dealers/distributors.

Median Dollar Volume Dips Slightly in 2018

The median dollar volume of associate members was $2.5 million in 2018, slightly down from a median of $2.6 million in 2017. Twenty-four percent of associate members reported a 2018 dollar volume of less than $500,000, 15 percent reported between $500,000 and $999,999, 31 percent between $1.0 million and $4.9 million, 10 percent between $5.0 million and $9.9 million, 4 percent between $10.0 million and $14.9 million, and 16 percent reported their dollar volume in 2018 at $15.0 million or more. One percent of associate members reported no business activity in 2018 (Exhibit 4 & 5).

Exhibit 4. Annual Revenue - 2018

Exhibit 5. Annual Revenue – HISTORY

Levels of revenue also vary widely across primary activity categories. For example, financial service members reported a median of $11.6 million in 2018 revenue, compared to $1.0 million for professional specialty members, $1.4 million for subcontractor/specialty trade contractor members, $2.6 million for members involved in some other associate activity, $4.0 million for retail dealership/distributor members, and $9.8 million for wholesale dealerships/distributorships.

Age, Race and Ethnicity

The median age of NAHB associate members in 2018 was 55 years. Six percent of associate members were less than 35 years old, 15 percent were 35 to 44, 27 percent were 45 to 54, 36 percent were 55 to 64, and 16 percent were 65 or older (Exhibit 6). The typical associate member was slightly younger in 2018 than in 2017 (55 vs. 56 years old), the first-time associates’ median age has fallen since the inception of the series in 2008 (Exhibit 7).

Exhibit 6. Age - 2018

Exhibit 7.  Median Age - HISTORY

The vast majority of NAHB’s associate members are White. Ninety-five percent of associate members identified themselves as White, alone; while only 1 percent each identified themselves as Black or African-American, alone; and American Indian or Alaska Native, alone. Less than half a percent identified as Asian, alone; and Pacific Islander, alone. Another 1 percent identified themselves as having two or more races. Two percent of associate members identified as belonging to some ‘other race’ (Exhibit 8). In terms of ethnicity, only 4 percent of associates are of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (Exhibit 9).

Exhibit 8. Race - 2018

Exhibit 9. Ethnicity: Are you of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Origin? - 2018

52% of Associate Members Have a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Since 2008, the share of NAHB associate members with a college or advanced degree has been at or above 50 percent. In 2018, 2 percent reported that they did not finish high school. Thirteen percent completed high school, 7 percent have career technical training, 26 percent have had some college education, 41 percent finished college, and 11 percent have an advanced/graduate degree (Exhibit 10).

Exhibit 10. Education - 2018

The share of associate members with a college or graduate degree varies across companies’ primary activities. Seventy-nine percent of professional specialty members have a degree, compared to 35 percent of subcontractor/specialty trade contractors, 47 percent of retail dealership/distributorship members, 54 percent of wholesale dealership/distributorship members, 61 percent of members in some other associate activity, and 71 percent of members in financial services.

Half Have Been Members for a Decade or More

In 2018, associate members reported belonging to NAHB for a median of 10 years, unchanged since 2015. Twenty-seven percent have been members for less than 3 years, 23 percent for 3 to 9 years, 24 percent for 10 to 19 years, and 26 percent for 20 years or more (Exhibit 11).

Exhibit 11. Tenure as NAHB Member - 2018

A profile for each category of associate member is available in the “Additional Resources” box at the top of this article.

[1]This article will use median values, as averages can be inflated by large companies. Medians are largely unaffected by these outliers because it calculates the middle most value, not taking into account how high the highest values are. An increase in a median’s value indicates an overall shift of all the associate members, not a change in a few large associate members.

For more information about this item, please contact Carmel Ford at 800-368-5242 x8503 or via email at cford@nahb.org.

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