It isn’t just lumber: Materials such as appliances, plywood, windows, and doors are also in short supply, according to a recent survey of home builders.
When the National Association of Home Builders asked builders to evaluate the availability of two dozen different construction materials in their May survey, the majority of respondents—across almost every product—reported a shortage.
Of the 24 types of materials and supplies included in the survey, a shortage of appliances appeared to be the most widespread, with 95% of builders who purchase the product reporting a shortage. Barron’s recently highlighted the appliance shortage in an article about
(ticker: WHR) earlier this month.
Builders don’t typically report trouble finding appliances, wrote
vice president for survey and housing policy research at the National Association of Home Builders. The trade group added the category to its most recent survey “after fielding a volley of anecdotal complaints earlier this year,” Emrath wrote.
The inclusion of appliances was more than justified, wrote Emrath. A larger share of builders reported a shortage of appliances than any other category of material since the trade group began collecting the data in the 1990s, Emrath wrote.
But shortages were hardly contained to appliances. Across the other categories, all experienced double-digit upticks in the share of builders reporting scarcity since the question was last asked. Last June, 9% of builders said oriented strand board, a manufactured wood used in the construction of walls, was in short supply. This year, 92% reported trouble finding the material.
Framing lumber, plywood, and windows and doors were nearly as hard to come by, with shortages in these categories reported by about 90% of respondents. The survey’s most abundant materials—concrete bricks and blocks, cement, and ready-mix concrete—were still characterized as scarce by more than 40% of respondents.
Builders’ responses to the survey have implications for the broader housing market. Material scarcity and rising costs have been have been cited as reasons for fewer homes being constructed.
“Affordability factors are clearly affecting new home sales,” Chuck Fowke, National Association of Home Builders chairman, wrote earlier this week after new-home sales fell an unexpected 5.9% month over month in April. “A growing number of builders are limiting sales in order to manage supply chains, including access and cost factors associated with lumber, appliances, and other building materials.”
Sales of existing homes, meanwhile, dropped month over month in April, and appear set to continue falling. Pending home sales data, a gauge of existing homes in contract that have not yet closed, fell 4.4% in April, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. High home-buyer demand and short supply of homes for sale, especially in affordable price points, is likely one reason for the dip—and new-home construction is one way supply can grow.
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