East Texas homebuilders struggle with rising material prices

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Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 11:16 PM CDT
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WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The pandemic had numerous after-effects, among them, the rising cost of lumber and building materials, creating problems for East Texas home builders and re-modelers.

Though new home construction has increased since February, lumber and other variables are making doing business a challenge.

Erin Wright has owned and operated ‘Wright Built’ construction for 17 years in Wood County, and this year is a challenge.

“Our lumber right now is up 230 percent, and we’re not only having problems with lumber, we’re having trouble getting it,” she says.

Privately-owned housing completions were up in March 16 percent from February, according to the ‘Texas Real Estate Research Center’.

In large part because of interest rates.

“The lower interest rates are fueling that. That’s making it easier for people to go out and cash in their existing property, go buy something nicer,” says LeTourneau university professor John Barrett.

Wright builds beautiful spacious homes, but to build quality, she has to have quality materials.

“Plumbing pipe has doubled, electrical wiring has doubled,” Erin says.

And the challenge for builders is not only the increased price of materials, but labor.

“Guys in the yard, we can’t get people to work there. It’s the guys building all the pieces that go into construction,” Wright says.

With demand still high, Wright is looking at building options.

“I’m starting to price houses more towards metal instead of wood because metal has not gone up as much as wood has,” she says.

But the market won’t last forever.

“It’s kind of a given that we’re going to get inflation. The question is how much? How soon? And how’s the ‘Fed’ going to respond to this,” Barrett says.

“The phones are still ringing and people are still wanting to build,” says Erin.

Wright says she hopes at some point that ‘supply catches up with demand’.

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