Homebuilders: ‘It’s been crazy busy’

By Jodi Schwan

Long hours, limited help and a full pipeline of buyers have defined this season for home builders.

“It’s been crazy busy. It just seems like everybody I talk to in the whole industry has more work than they can handle,” said Brad Mair of A-Plus Construction.

“They’re working long hours and trying to find more help to do the work they’ve got. Overall, it’s positive as far as the amount of work, and we don’t see a slowdown for the foreseeable future.”

Mair, the chair of the Fall Parade of Homes, which runs this weekend and next, said his company builds 25 to 30 homes a year. He hasn’t seen a severe shortage of lots for building, but options are still limited.

“Developers did tighten up on how many at a time they’re developing once we had the downturn seven or eight years ago, but there are lots out there,” he said. “Prices definitely have continued to rise on those lots, and it takes a little looking and being flexible a little bit on where you’d like to build.”

He also is noticing a contemporary flair in many new homes.

“Our younger buyers are liking the streamlined windows with a lot of glass, and gray and steel components inside, almost a little more industrial look. It’s certainly not for everybody, but we are seeing a lot more of that style.”

Other trends include continued demand for in-home entertainment spaces, such as lower-level bars and basements with theater areas.

Through August, the city issued permits for 545 houses, which is 27 more than the same time last year.

While interest rates and hurricane-related material costs are unknowns, the overall forecast for builders headed toward spring is strong, Mair said.

The Parade of Homes offers tours of more than 60 new homes. But don’t expect to find many without owners. There is still speculative homebuilding happening, but that’s also a tight market.

“Those companies that are spec builders are doing very well,” Mair said. “Even homes registered for the parade won’t be available because they sold.”

The Parade of Homes is put on by the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire and runs Sept. 16 and 17 and Sept. 23 and 24. For details, visit hbasiouxempire.com.

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Homebuilders: ‘It’s been crazy busy’

Long hours, limited help and a full pipeline of buyers have defined this season for homebuilders.

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