Seller’s market tied to lumber shortage

NORFOLK --  Demand for renovations and new homes is hot. 

"There's a lot of people who realize they don't like their house when they were stuck in it in the pandemic," Erica Daake, manager at Whitecliff Developments said. 

Daake has two new housing developments going on at the same time. Realtors are agreeing; in this market, consumers must be aggressive.

"It either has so many offers it's gone tomorrow, or it's gone so fast no one sees it," Steve Osborn, Dover Realtor, said.  

He's never seen such a burning market in Norfolk in all the decades he's worked here. 

A seller's market has made it all too easy for these homes to find new owners. But, a lumber shortage is creating problems for those who want to renovate or build a new home. 

The price of lumber has more than doubled over the last year to an all-time high.

 "It is partly a little market manipulation [...] I can't see it tapering off for another year or two," Tammi Reeves, cabinet designer at Mead Lumber, said. The owner, Chad Gilsdorf, chimed in that interest rates also play a factor. 

As for steel; unfilled orders in the last quarter were at the highest level in five years. But it's not just steel and lumber.

"Right now garage doors are 16 weeks out [...]  Now it's glass, I've got front doors I can't even get," Daake said.  

When homeowners or potential buyers do decide on a new window or product they want -- choices are limited. 

“There's not much inventory where you can say I want this one or that one," said Osborn. 

But these setbacks don't seem to be keeping consumers from starting new projects.

"You're seeing a lot of people upgrade now," Daake said. 

"People are just doing a lot of remodeling to eventually resell," Reeves said. 

Experts say the market volatility could last a few more months or even a couple more years. One thing's for sure, the low supply and high demand will have to even out eventually. 

Experts at Mead Lumber recommend homeowners go ahead and renovate now before prices continue to skyrocket; while realtor's said it may be wiser to invest in buying/building a new home entirely. 

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