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House Not Finished Yet? Buyers Still Move In

Supply-chain problems have led to some new-home buyers moving in before completion, even as many builders order supplies months earlier than they once did.

NEW YORK – Material supply chain backups continue to hit the new-home market, and one of the results is some new owners moving into unfinished homes, The Wall Street Journal reports. The problems stem from ongoing factory closures caused by the pandemic, transportation delays and port capacity limits. High-profile shortages include windows, garage doors, appliances and paint.

The supply-chain problem has vexed builders since the pandemic began. They say it hasn’t improved, and it still takes weeks longer than normal to finish homes due to the widespread shortages. In November 2021, about 90% of home builders surveyed were experiencing supply disruptions, up from 75% in January 2021, according to Zonda, a real estate research firm.

To help counter the delays, some builders stock up on products or try to find suitable substitutes for some materials.

The builder Epcon Communities in Dublin, Ohio, said that some of their buyers moved into their new homes before gutters and downspouts were installed. And city officials in Sacramento, Calif., established a policy in November 2021 that allows builders to close on homes with temporary garage doors.

Builders with Homes by WestBay LLC in Riverview, Fla., say they’ve started ordering windows six months in advance. Prior to the supply chain issues, they could order them just 60 days ahead of time.

“About the time we’re getting ready to pave streets in a new subdivision … we’re ordering windows for 100 homes,” says Willy Nunn, president and CEO of Homes by WestBay. He says homes are about a month to two months behind their normal schedule.

Materials aren’t just taking longer to arrive, they also cost more, and builders largely pass those increases on to homebuyers. In November, the median price of a newly built home reached a record high of $416,900, almost 19% higher than a year earlier.

Source: “Supply-Chain Issues Leave New Homes Without Garage Doors and Gutters,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 9, 2022) [Log-in required.]

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