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What you need to know about building a home in 2021

Homebuilders in 2021 face a complex set of construction challenges: supply delays and skyrocketing materials prices, low property inventory, and the lingering effects of the worldwide pandemic. 

It’s enough to make anyone long for the days where the biggest challenge to home construction involved finding the right contractor—which is also more important, and harder to do, than ever before. 

While there’s no simple solution to the obstacles of building a home in 2021, a little preparation for what to expect can go a long way, and make the experience less stressful and even possibly less expensive. Here’s what you need to know if you’re determined to make 2021 the year of your dream home. 

Anticipate Delays

Residential construction was already a cycle of “hurry up and wait” but you can anticipate even longer wait times now. Why? Several reasons:

  • Many contractors and builders are still behind schedule on pre-existing projects derailed by the 2020 pandemic. Which means finding a reputable contractor with any upcoming availability is especially challenging. It’s worth keeping a short list of professionals you’re interested in working with and checking in regularly to see who can start your project fastest. 
  • Pandemic-related shipping delays. A return to normal consumer behavior means an increased demand for shipping services. But suppliers are struggling to meet this demand both due to reductions in labor and a reduction in available transportation—especially maritime transportation. For Hawaiians, this is nothing new. Shipping materials from the mainland was always an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, but the new delays mean that patience is especially crucial for beginner homebuilders. 

Plan for and Mitigate Increased Costs 

  • Shipping delays and shortages are also driving up the cost of most construction materials, most notably lumber. Reports from The National Association of Home Builders state that material shortages are more widespread than ever before, especially for materials such as lumber, plywood, and oriented strand board. This is causing the prices to skyrocket, and further increasing existing construction delays. 
  • Some builders and contractors are trying to mitigate rising construction prices with “price escalation” clauses in their building contracts, which means that cost of construction will remain based on the current price for building materials, regardless of how much the costs increase over the course of construction. 
  • Another option? Deliberately pausing construction when prices spike without risking the structural integrity of the home. Some builders are building in a planned wait time after the foundation is built, or after the major framing is completed. 

With all the complicating factors associated with building a home in 2021, it’s never been more important to work with the best and most experienced professionals in the industry. We help homebuilders find the right contractors, architects, designers, and builders for their new home, and our free online estimator can help you navigate the ever-changing economic landscape of residential construction. Contact us today for more information on making the most of these unique (but not impossible!) construction challenges.