Publisher’s Note: May 2021

Hello Readers, in print and online, 

Housing affordability continues to wane, as the skyrocketing cost of home building materials takes its toll. NAHB is advocating builders to team up with home appraisers to demonstrate to home buyers the cost of the materials included in their new homes. Some builders are no longer able to deliver completed homes at their agreed prices. Inflation has definitely reared its ugly head in the home building business. Another factor increasing home prices is a lack of available new home inventory — at least partially driven by rising materials costs. High demand and short supply means more expensive homes. Lumber prices in particular are a major concern, given the quantities of lumber used in framing, sheathing, flooring, roof decks, windows, doors, cabinets, etc. in a new home. The mills saw the housing demand spike a year ago and for various reasons allowed the demand to spike without really adjusting the supply. NAHB reports the powers that be in the American lumber community are not altogether keen to see tariffs removed on Canadian imported soft lumber. One wonders, why leave those tariffs in place when supply is so constrained that it cannot be met domestically?

Vaccinations continue, albeit at a markedly slower pace. This poses another set of challenges as states get ready to lift restrictions. The goal of herd immunity is only achievable if 70% of the population gets vaccinated. It now seems we are destined for pockets of immunity in populations scattered around the country. Ironically, New York and California, both previously notable hot spots, are among the states that are turning the corner. Some states are still experiencing increases in transmissions and hospitalizations, although the majority are experiencing declines. At some point in the hopefully-not-too-distant future, this too shall pass and we will be able to get back to our new normal, in whatever shape or form that may be.

In this green-themed issue of the magazine, we are pleased to showcase a few notable homebuilders who are waving their high performance home building credentials proudly. The pandemic has really been a game changer in terms of how we live inside our homes, including how we use them and what we need from them. A complete reevaluation of design priorities is already producing discernible adjustments in new homes, both single and multi-family. These changes don’t just impact spaces within the home, but also essential systems, including Indoor Air Quality, WiFi bandwidth, recreation, entertainment and yard space. Some of this reimagining of living space is being shared on TV in commercials from firms like Pulte Homes, for example. We see thoughtful advertisements that reflect the dramatic changes in how buyer’s expectations and needs. Great to see our leaders taking strong initiative and demonstrating successful outcomes for American families. Keep it up!

Thank you for the privilege of your readership. Get your vaccination, if you haven’t already done so. Work hard and stay safe.

Slainte,

Nick Slevin

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