Homebuilders report big demand for home offices, outdoor space

June 18, 2020

Thinking of building or expanding a deck this season? Get ready to get in line.

“If I had a dollar for every person who called about a deck remodel or a deck addition … they’re staying home more … so they want to be comfortable and enjoy themselves,” said Doug Top, owner for Top Construction and the chair of the 2020 Spring Parade of Homes.

“Finding someone to do a deck right now is pretty difficult, and materials are becoming more scarce.”

Finding someone to do many building projects right now is becoming more difficult.

Builders such as Muhamed Smajlovic, owner of Mux Construction, are staying busy.

“I have another five homes and a fourplex I’m working on,” said Smajlovic, who designed and built a seven-bedroom home in the Cherry Lake Reserve neighborhood that is part of the Spring Parade of Homes.

“We have two decks (on this home). People really like spending the time outdoors. I’m mainly concentrating on new construction and a little remodeling. We’ve got some lined up up to the end of this year and some into next year.”

While he built the $960,000 home on spec – it’s still on the market – that’s increasingly rare.

“I had two on spec in the midrange – $350,000 to $400,000 – and one sold and one I still have available,” he said. “It’s pretty tough, especially with big homes, it’s hard to see as a spec.”

The Cherry Lake home, though, illustrates several popular building trends. Most noticeable this season has been the demand for home offices.

“In any home I’m designing now … that is definitely included,” Top said.

In the past six months, he has gone back into homes he built just a couple of years ago and remodeled or added on for home offices.

“These people are finding they’re going to be permanently (working) at home or at home for the foreseeable future” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. “I’ve gone into pretty new homes and made it more adaptable for them.”

The Spring Parade of Homes, put on by the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire Inc., wraps up Saturday and Sunday. For details, click here.

The event was delayed about a month because of COVID-19, and visitors will notice precautions.

There are signs asking them not to touch surfaces, plenty of sanitizer and directions for going in one way and out another to keep people spread out.

About 50 homes are available to tour for free.

In general, those looking to build will find the west and south sides of town are “running out of lots for the midrange homes,” Top said. “There are still lots for executive homes available and for the smaller starter homes, but your midrange home lots – $400,000 to $700,000 – are becoming pretty scarce.”

Overall costs are up about 10 percent from last year, he said, and some lead times are longer.

That hasn’t stopped buyers, though. Through May, the city of Sioux Falls had issued permits for 249 new single-family homes, two more than the same time last year.

“Just about everyone I know is busy through the rest of the year, so if you’re thinking about building any time soon, it would be a good time to start interviewing some builders,” Top said.

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Homebuilders report big demand for home offices, outdoor space

We’ve got a look inside one of the houses on this weekend’s Spring Parade of Homes, along with advice for those looking at building projects: If you want a new deck or home office, you’re far from alone.

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