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Going in-depth about western New York's housing market

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Posted at 4:51 PM, Jun 16, 2021

Rebecca Greiner’s settling into her brand new home.

“It’s the coolest thing to have your vision come to life,” the 30-year-old mother of two explained.

Griener and her husband decided to build in South Wales after their housing search was unsuccessful last summer. “All of them needed so much work. So, we were looking at these houses and thinking we’d have to spend so much money to update them.”

But, according to experts, building this year is more expensive even over just last year.

T.J. McIntosh owns Berkley Building Incorporated. He said the cost of lumber is up 250 percent. McIntosh said he used to buy a 2x4 for $2.50. Today, they are more than $10 a piece. The price is also fluctuating more than in recent years.

“When you provide a bid for a client and you get the price, the whole thing might change seven days later,” he said.

McIntosh said he’s been forced to buy the lumber for projects, and store it to avoid price increases for his clients. “It’s kind of in the way here,” he explained of the stacks of lumber sitting on the property of a home addition. “But, I have to deliver it early so I don’t have to worry about the inflation.”

Rising material prices and supply-chain shortages are resulting in builder confidence dipping to its lowest level since august 2020. The latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) shows that builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes fell two points to 81 in June.

Josh James is a realtor with Keller Williams. He said fewer clients are asking about building options.

“I don’t get that question much anymore because are you going to pay 50 to 90,000 more for a new build because prices are so much higher? Or that much more for an existing home.”

Erie County’s housing inventory is seeing record lows. In June of 2019 there were roughly 1,200 homes for sale. In 2020, there were 900, and this week the number rose from 641 to 656.

Reporter Ali Touhey: What would you say is unique this season that you haven’t seen in the past?
James: The competition this season, it’s much more competitive where I’m seeing 37 offers, 42 offers.

In Rebecca Greiner’s case, she’s glad she didn’t have to compete with other potential buyers, and when they sold their last home, she said the buyers allowed them to rent the home after the closing to avoid moving multiple times before their new home was finished. “They were willing to give us the time to build. So, it was really a blessing.”