By Kassie Simmons | March 23, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT – Updated March 23 at 7:14 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Construction is a sign of growth — something Wilmington has seen a lot of over the years. For those building their dream home, the current costs are more like a nightmare.
“The average cost for the lumber package for a home is about 70 to 100 percent higher than it was for a similarly done home that we did about two and a half years ago,” explained Trevor Lanphear, owner of Lanphear Builders.
Like a sturdy tree, the shortage has many branches from increased demand for home improvement projects to decreased supply because of diminished manufacturing rates and imports.
“There are folks experiencing customers walking away from projects or delaying them now because the cost is so high,” said Lanphear. “A project you could have maybe done two years ago for $450,000 will now cost $500,000 just because of lumber prices.”
Lumber prices aren’t the only ones feeling the pandemic pinch.
“Pex piping is going up, copper is going up,” Lanphear says. “Plumbers are having to re-do their current estimates because the price increases are happening that quickly.”
With costs rising, hopeful homeowners are pushed to buy instead of build. That’s led to problems in the housing market as well.
“The number of homes simply don’t meet the need — the demand — for the number of people who are moving here, or feeling the need to be in a larger home since home is now also the workplace for a lot of people,” said Kathleen Baylies with Just for Buyers Realty.
Too much demand for the supply available makes for a competitive market.
“Many people would start looking at a slightly higher price range than what they think they will eventually buy,” said Baylies. “[They think] ‘well, I’ll be able to negotiate something off the price.’ That’s not happening so much anymore.”
The costs of construction and renovation projects may be going up, but Lanphear believes there is still a solid foundation of hope to build on.
“I feel like it can only get better from here. I feel like it can only go down the more folks get back to work, and the more the vaccine takes its path and we get herd immunity.”
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