Grant Everett thought he and his family would be moved into their new home by the end of 2021. Now they’re hoping to be moved in by the fall. The overall cost of the house has also gone up, including a nearly 50% increase for the lumber alone.
"You think, ‘OK, perfect, we finally have a plan,' and you move along, and the next thing you know, the price to get the home built has moved on you. It’s like trying to hit a moving target," Everett said.
He is one of thousands of frustrated home buyers building during the pandemic. He said the process has been excruciating.
"One of the biggest headaches is trying to plan and budget in designing a house," he said. "And, trying to fit in what you think is going to be affordable, and then finding out that lumber is 100% more than it was when you were in the design phase is pretty frustrating."
Michael Turner owns the firm Classic Urban Homes, which has been building the Everetts’ home.
"The lumber on this particular home right here, when we first bid this house out, it was about $80,000 worth of lumber. By the time we got ready to start, it was $150,000 worth of lumber," Turner said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, single-family home construction costs went up by 17.5% from 2020 to 2021, the largest yearly spike since 1970.
Turner said in his 17 years of home building, he’s never seen a market like this.
"In past markets, you might change the type of materials you would use and maybe find something that’s a little more cost-effective," he said. "But right now, with materials shortages, we’re using what materials we can get."
Phil Crone, the executive officer of the Dallas Builders' Association, said the organization has aimed to help keep the housing market in its area affordable.
"Every thousand-dollar increase in the price of a new home, no matter how that happens, prices 20,000 Texas families out of the ability to afford that home," Crone said.
Now, the Dallas Builders' Association is asking the government to step in and make adjustments.
"There’s been a tariff on lumber since 2017, and all it’s doing is constraining supply and adding or exacerbating the price increase that we’ve seen," Crone said.
The Dallas Builders Association and others across the country also recommended building one-story homes and making all possible building material substitutions until costs come down.