Homebuilding expectations strong as labor challenges continue

Feb. 23, 2018

Sioux Falls issued permits for 750 new single-family homes last year, and early signs point to at least that strong of a year in 2018.

“I’ve gotten more phone calls in this last month than I think I’ve ever had in January or February,” said Corey Johnson of G.A. Johnson Construction. “We’re starting to see a few more lots out, which is nice to see. I think it will be another rock-star year.”

Johnson is a co-chair of this weekend’s Sioux Empire Home Show, organized by the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire.

While he has capacity to take on more projects this year, his schedule is filling up with homebuilding and remodeling.

“Flooring is a big trend — wood, tiles, the new vinyls are phenomenal. We’re starting to see a lot of those in high-end homes– vinyl plank flooring. It’s really good quality.”

Hard-surface countertops are still popular, he said.

“Granite is still huge. Barn doors have been a kicker the last couple years. We’ve been doing a lot of barn doors.”

Lumber prices have gone up this year, he said, and some homebuyers “a getting a little shocked by material prices.”

His labor costs also have gone up considerably in the past five years. But that’s not the biggest concern.

Last week, Johnson had 10 interviews lined up. None of them showed.

“And two did the paperwork to start jobs and never showed up,” he said. “I could hire carpenters, laborers, superintendents, but it’s just an ongoing battle.”

His approach?

“Keep interviewing,” he said.

“Labor costs have gone up a lot in the last five years because we’re fighting for the same people. There’s a lot of workload coming up, though, which is great.”

The Home Show and Outdoor Living Showcase is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center.

For information on tickets and workshops during the event, visit hbasiouxempire.com.

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Homebuilding expectations strong as labor challenges continue

This homebuilder has gotten a record number of calls from buyers early this year. If only he could find people to do the work.

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