SWMI housing market disrupting construction pace

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- It’s been a seller’s market in Southwest Michigan during the pandemic as more people move to make this area their permanent home.

But with a lack of homes for sale to meet the demand, it’s causing some chaos for the builders now, too, saying they’re still catching up with their schedule from the spring when construction was shut down for about two months.

“Our builders are having a really hard time, they’re getting requested quotes on homes and looking at a year and a half two years to even start the project,” said Carol Weller, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Southwest Michigan.

Remote work and increased time at home are what Weller says has made people reconsider where they put down roots.

“The lake itself I think is the draw, it’s a little slower pace, it’s more of a family-oriented area,” she said.

For builders though, they’re lacking the labor and materials to maintain their typical construction pace.

Plus, not only are suppliers just out of inventory, but also taking advantage of this building boom and driving prices up.

“People will look at me, ‘Well, what do you mean 10 percent, 20 percent?’ no, I said double, we’re having a hard time right now getting paint, even the lumber and different siding you have to be planning because they don’t just have it,” said Dale Erny, Owner of Erny Builders and President of the Home Builders Association of Southwest Michigan.

So, if you want to build – instead of just buy – in Southwest Michigan, be prepared to be patient.

“Being that all of the builders are busy, then the subcontractors are trying to spread themselves,” said Erny. “You call them and they say ‘We’re three months out,’ so you really have to plan in advance for that.”

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