In 30 years of business, John Bitley tells Business Insider he’s never seen such a demand

Many companies are still struggling to keep up with backlogs of home improvement projects and new home construction due to the limited availability of materials, as well as laborers, caused by the pandemic.

John Bitely, the president of Sable Homes, told Business Insider that in 30 years of business he’s never seen such demand.

“We usually build houses to sell them,” he said in the May 23 story. “We have virtually none of those available right now because all of our labor and production is fully absorbed with creating pre-sold homes. Every home we’re making is already sold because people are chomping at the bit for these new homes and we can’t build our way out of it.”

Over 44% of home improvement plans in the U.S. have been delayed due to supply shortages and skyrocketing material costs, according to data from market research firm,, a company that uses transactional data to generate reports on consumer spending.

Data from the National Association of Home Builders Remodeling Market Index indicates that, on average, home improvement projects are facing 1-2 months of delays.

Not only are home-improvement projects lagging due to spikes in demand, new homes have also become an incredibly hot market. Last month, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported that there is a shortage of nearly 4 million homes in the U.S., Business Insider reported.

Government agencies are backed up

Bitely said Sable Homes faces delays from the very beginning of a project, as government agencies have been slow to give out the necessary home-building permits, adding at least two weeks to the waiting process. 

He attributes the delay to the sheer amount of permits government agencies are rushing to approve as home-building demand continues to increase.

Once a project starts it can get stuck midway through

Supply shortages have been unpredictable in recent months.

There have been times when Sable Homes has been forced to pivot from one project to another, as contractors wait on vinyl siding or plumbing pipes. Bitely said the company tries to compensate by ordering products well ahead of schedule, but they never quite know what products will be in short supply.

“The biggest problem is the shortage is random so it’s very difficult to fix or nail down,” Bitely told Business Insider. “Because it’s impacting nearly every facet of the supply chain, it will be difficult to make it go away.”

While kitchen appliances have been heavily impacted by the global semiconductor chip shortage, other products like paint and vinyl siding are also in short supply due to the Texas freeze. Though, the skyrocketing lumber prices are one of the biggest hurdles home building and improvement companies are struggling to overcome, said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

“Lumber is a big component of any home project,” he said. “It’s adding about $36,000 to new single-family homes and it’s driving remodeling prices higher.”

Home-improvement projects are sure to be more expensive 

It’s difficult to predict how much a project will cost. 

Bitely said he sees prices fluctuate every few weeks.

“As a company, there’s nothing we can do but pass those prices through to the customer,” Bitely said. “We set up the expectation early on that prices are changing and the project may be subject to delays and for the most part customers are not deterred.”

Despite delays and rising costs, demand shows no signs of dampening

“Right now, most clients are still going through with buying because they’re desperate for house. They have no other choice,” Bitely said.

Home-building and improvement delays and price spikes are not expected to abate anytime soon. On Thursday, Kyle Little, chief operating officer of Sherwood Lumber, told CNBC he expects elevated lumber prices to continue into the “foreseeable future.,” Business Insider reported.

“It’s really imperative that policymakers improve these supply chains,” Dietz told Business Insider. “Lumber affordability is key to housing affordability.”

Read the full Business Insider story, here.

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