Home builders and renovators facing sticker shock during pandemic
LONDON, ONT. -- As we swing into spring and summer, with many of us not venturing too far from home, some are looking to do home renovations.
But those who do might just be in for sticker shock.
Home owners are finding out just what contractors have been facing over the past year - the cost in building supplies is going through the roof, particularly lumber. And with no end in site.
“You have to price the jobs accordingly now to include the ongoing inflation of material,” said house flipper Matt Scott. “I’m being told by suppliers they’re going up ten per cent a month.”
Scott flips eight houses per year, with a crew of between 20 and 30 contractors.
House flipper Matt Scott in Sarnia Ont. on March 24, 2021. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV London)
Right now he’s restoring a 160-year-old home in Sarnia. He’s uncovering hidden treasures such as original hardwood flooring.
But he’s also uncovering hidden costs in just about every material needed for the job.
“I have to make sure they have what I need down the road, and I have to pre-pay for stuff. Some electrical breakers, the precious metals that you find in the breakers, that’s getting harder to find. HVAC units. AC units. Everyone’s doing renovations. Everyone’s buying up everything. Even appliances! I’ve had to buy my next two houses’ appliances three months ahead of time.”
Big demand for new construction coupled with a shortage in housing adds up to big price increases. Not to mention a shortage in the lumber supply.
Dave Kirk, who owns a Home Hardware in southwestern Ontario, said the largest price increases have been in lumber. He said some types of wood have gone up 400 per cent in price over one year ago.
“We just keep buying on a regular basis so we have a good stock coming in. So, you know you have to buy it. You can’t sit back and wait for it to come down some day, so... You gotta keep the pipeline going pretty full because our builders still need it.”
When or if prices come back down is anyone’s guess. But sanders gotta keep sanding, and hammers gotta keep swinging.
Scott says for the time being, he has to continue budgeting, and hoping that he can still turn a profit in the face of inflation.
“Anything above and beyond that comes up that cuts into my profit, it is what it is. I have to make sure the next house is nice for the next home owner, and it’s right.”