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I want to build my dream home in New Jersey, but why is there a lack of wood, steel, a microwave and even a refrigerator?


Big move‘is a MarketWatch column that looks at the details and details of real estate, from navigating the search for a new home to signing up for a mortgage.

Do you have a question about buying or selling a home? Would you like to know where your next action will be? Email Jacob Passy at the address [email protected].

Dear MarketWatch!

I live in New Jersey and dream of a new house built around the Shore.

I was looking for a single family home, but it seems the construction industry is having difficulty finding materials, and all new construction has stopped.

Does anyone tell when new homes will start coming up again?

Very best regards,

Hope for a house on the beach

Dear hope,

Problems in the global supply chain are actually hindering the construction of new homes – and unfortunately, the end is not yet.

Perhaps the most pressing problem for today’s builders is the shortage of sawn timber. And there is no specific cause, according to experts. “We talk to builders and when you ask around, you get a lot of different explanations,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Builders.

The sawmill industry experienced a drop in production from July to September – partly due to COVID-19 causing production problems. It has improved since September and is getting bigger year over year, Dietz estimates.

But the demand for sawn lumber has increased significantly. There is a serious shortage of existing homes for sale. Americans are anxious to list their homes, either because of lingering concerns about catching a COVID-19 or because they may have trouble finding a place to move.

Either way, that has pushed people into the market to find new homes who will buy an existing, cheaper home. And it seems to some extent that the wood industry has been caught off guard by the need for new homes, and therefore sawn timber, to rise a few months after the pandemic started.


Shortages of refrigerators and microwaves stemming from chip shortages are affecting many areas, from home appliances to cars. Steel supply is also shorter.

Lumber is many times more expensive today than it was a year ago, adding tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a newly built home.

The shortage of raw materials is not exclusive to sawn timber. Home builders and remodeles are having a great deal of difficulty in purchasing new appliances. Shortage of refrigerators and microwaves stems from a lack of chips affects a wide range of fields, from home appliances to cars. Steel is also in shorter supply.

“When you talk to some builders, they can’t necessarily guarantee the final timing or price for certain types of builders because of the unpredictability you see in the building materials market. build now, ”says Dietz.

In your particular case, the problem you’re having when finding a newly built home may also be a more local problem. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, we have seen a shift out into the suburbs from the big cities. When white-collar workers suddenly found themselves able to work remotely – if not full-time, at least part of the week – that expanded the range of positions they could weigh. remind about where you live.

Plus, millennials are getting married and having kids, making many urban places a little too cramped.

It’s a trend that’s definitely been on in New York City. And while Jersey Shore may not be the main destination for all those looking to move, it’s likely the market has seen some spillovers from neighboring communities.

Wave of people buying motels

The pandemic has also spurred a wave of vacation home purchases. Many people do not want to leave the big cities permanently, but want a place where they can go, and others today are less interested in staying in hotels. An increase in second-home interest has certainly had an impact on your market.

High demand for housing in your area means new market launches are likely to go on sale. And the increase in construction activity, within the range of new homes being built, may have created competition for supply at the local level.

My final advice to you is to be patient. Some of the materials-related challenges faced by the construction industry need to be adequately addressed on their own. And as people begin to return to the office, we may see a slight decrease in demand for housing in suburban areas if workers start to worry about their commuting again. Next year might be a better time to buy a newly built home for two reasons.

Also, you should consider expanding the range of locations you are considering. Look up and down shore, don’t just focus on specific towns. Or consider buying in another state, where you may have less competition for your dream home. Whichever path you choose, I hope you don’t have to be forced to play the waiting game too long and you can find the right home soon.

Do not miss: ‘It’s great to spend money and go on vacation’: I’m 58 years old and have lived in my home for 40 years. Should I reduce the size and rent?

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