With all the uncertainly that the COVID-19 pandemic has created, one of the most common questions I hear is, ‘Is now a good time for me to remodel my home?’”
While multitudes of Houstonians stayed home during March, April and May, it became apparent to many that improvement projects were needed on their homes. Many do-it-yourselfers spent much of their newfound time at home doing just that.
The projects most popular currently are arguably directly related to the experiences of many folks staying and working at home—home offices, outdoor living and kitchen remodeling.
Obviously, the construction industry will not be immune to the impact of COVID-19. Building product imports from China account for nearly 30% of all U.S. building product imports combined. For commercial builders that rely on Chinese-made goods or materials, it’s possible that, moving forward, we may experience higher material costs and potentially longer lead times in receiving material.
The cost of lumber has also increased recently due to decreased output at the domestic mills and the aforementioned do-it-yourselfers, thereby reducing availability with an already high demand. Treated lumber, a popular material for decks and other outdoor living spaces, is taking four weeks to get what used to take two days.
However, as workers return to their jobs, costs will hopefully drop back down during the summer and fall months. Take heart though, it’s not all doom and gloom. For the most part, the average price for construction materials has stayed relatively level over the past several months.
I think we can all exercise a cautious optimism as Houston businesses inch back into a semblance of normalcy. I also believe that NOW is the time to get your projects underway. Interest rates are at a historic low and homeowners taking advantage of that fact have put an unexpected demand on remodelers’ time.
If you are not quite sure, know that the permitting process has also proven to take longer than previously experienced. It may be prudent to start with the design and permitting phases first to be ready to hit the ground running when you feel comfortable doing so.