Home builders: ‘Our pipelines are already getting full’

Feb. 22, 2019

Those January days when the wind chill dropped to minus 40 or more in Sioux Falls actually made the home building market heat up a bit.

“After that, everyone got spring fever earlier than normal,” said Kim Hefner-Hines, past board president of the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire Inc.

“I’ve talked to a lot of builders in our association, and people are coming out a little earlier wanting to get house plans drawn.”

Hefner-Hines, who’s also general manager of Allen Homes, has experienced it in her business too. In the past two weeks, it has sold two custom homes to be built and four town homes under construction.

“It’s crazy because you don’t expect people to be out,” she said. “But they’re afraid there won’t be anything left if they wait until March or April.”

Some of those fears might be warranted. A wet late summer and early fall held up residential land development and further tightened the supply of lots. Add in a persistent worker shortage in the trades and the home building industry finds it has only so much capacity.

“Most likely, builders are going to fill their pipelines rapidly, so we encourage people to go out sooner than later,” Hefner-Hines said. “There are only so many framers and plumbers and electrical people. And rates are still really down. So I think we’re going to have a great spring if we ever see spring.”

The early interest should mean a solid crowd at the annual Sioux Empire Home Show, which runs Friday through Sunday and is organized by HBASE.

It features 240 home-related booths at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and Arena.

“I think people are a little anxious and ready to get started, and I think we’ll see increased activity at the home show not just from new construction but remodelers,” Hefner-Hines said.

The continued tight inventory in the existing home market also is helping the remodeling market, she said.

“What we heard over the winter is for people who didn’t find what they wanted to find (in the home market), they said, ‘Let’s get a remodeler over here’ and see what they can do to update the home or add a sun porch or something. They still love the neighborhood, and they’ve decided to update what they’ve got, and I think that will continue.”

Home builders continue to see price increases, especially in items such as light fixtures that come from overseas. There have been slight increases in cabinetry, counters, sheet metal and labor and some decreases in lumber costs, Hefner-Hines said.

“Sioux Falls has always been a really good market where everybody works together, so I don’t think you’ll see big jumps but small incremental increases,” she said. “What we all pray for in construction is an early spring and a dry spring. As long as we get that, we can get started. But the buyers are out there for sure, and we want to help them.”

Hours for the Sioux Empire Home Show are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for those 65 and older on Friday and free for children younger than 12. A three-day pass is available for $10 at the Arena box office during show hours. Advance tickets can be bought for $6 at Lewis Drug locations in Sioux Falls and Sunshine Foods in Brandon through Sunday.

For a discount coupon and details on the Sioux Empire Home Show, click here.

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Home builders: ‘Our pipelines are already getting full’

“It’s crazy because you don’t expect people to be out. But they’re afraid there won’t be anything left if they wait until March or April.” Thinking about building or remodeling your home? Better get moving.

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