As builders, we find ourselves in a familiar place. We’re hard at work, seemingly as busy as ever, while constantly looking over our shoulder at the things outside of our control that threaten to slow business. By now we’re all familiar with the “new normal” of volatile lumber prices, the scarce availability of some materials, a recent uptick in interest rates, all while demand for new construction stays high and home prices continue to climb. Where do we go from here?
If you joined one of NCHBA’s Virtual Town Halls in March, you heard NAHB Director of Tax and Trade Policy Analysis David Logan deliver some good news. According to him, while interest rates are expected to climb as the economy recovers from COVIDinduced shutdowns, rates should stay at reasonably low levels for years to come. Despite high lumber prices and materials difficulties related to the supply chain, these low interest rates have fueled new demand for single-family housing and larger homes. Even with lumber prices remaining at historic highs, there are few signs that these prices will cause demand for housing to seriously abate.
It’s a mixed picture, for sure, but I believe as an industry we should feel encouraged about the future. Speaking of good news, essential workers in construction and real estate became eligible to receive a COVID vaccine in late March. As you’ll recall, it was last Spring when NCHBA’s government affairs team worked incredibly hard to ensure that construction workers were deemed essential by Governor Roy Cooper. Our industry stayed on the job in North Carolina, while practicing social distancing, frequent hand-washing and mask-wearing, and helped fulfill the demand for new housing and remodeling that came with the pandemic.
If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to get a vaccine so that we can hopefully defeat the virus, save lives and fully re-open the economy for what’s poised to be an incredible recovery. You can visit www.myspot.nc.govto find a local vaccine provider near you.
Moreover, I’m eager to meet in person again! At the moment, though, we’re not quite at a low enough level of new cases in order to safely gather as a large group. That’s why your NCHBA Senior Officers and I made the decision to go virtual again for our 2nd Quarter Meeting in May. One of the strengths of virtual meetings however is that there’s no travel involved and