Home building has been growing at a rapid pace, despite challenging concerns such as rising lumber prices, labor shortages, and increases in interest rates.
But another constraint has surfaced in recent months: supply chain issues limiting delivery of many building products used in home construction and remodeling, including windows, garage doors, and kitchen cabinet doors.
“Supply chain disruptions have plagued the housing market since the early days of the pandemic, but have only gotten worse recently,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist of building consultancy Zonda, telling Realtor.com that during the last year’s final quarter, 91 percent of the home builders it surveyed faced supply chain problems.
“The lack of material availability is making it take longer to build a home, and the delays and higher input costs are contributing to rising home prices,” says Wolf. Builders have trouble securing common items including cabinetry, paint, even bricks, appliances, according to Wolf.
Windows are also a problem, with some builders ordering them six months in advance of installation, instead of the usual 60-day lead time, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sixty-one percent of home builders in a recent survey by Johns Burns Real Estate Consulting cited windows as the biggest material shortage right now. Average lead times for windows currently range from 4–15 weeks with some window lead times extending 20–45 weeks. Prior to COVID-19, lead times were typically 2–3 weeks. Johns Burns cites its Index of Supply Chain Complexity (below) to account for the delays, with items at top of the scale, including garage doors and cabinets, reliant on imports or intermediate suppliers.
|Cabinets and counters||7.2|
|Windows and doors||6.0|
Williams Homes Inc. was able to complete only 400 of 500 planned homes due to shortages, and ended up scrounging for garage doors in multiple states. Sacramento, CA, even passed a temporary ordinance allowing home sales to close with temporary garage doors, the Journal reports.
Availability and the time it takes to obtain building materials was also a predominant issue for the large majority of home builders, according the National Association of Home Builders, and most expect it will remain an issue in 2022. NAHB says the high incidence of builders reporting material problems is not surprising given recent increases in prices.