Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Modular Construction Struggles with Rising Costs and Shortages

Nobody has to tell the modular housing industry that lumber prices have skyrocketed more than 80% since the impact of COVID-19 hit back in April.

This has added about $12-16 a sq ft to the retail price of a single family modular home.

But that isn’t the only commodity that has hit our industry and in fact, the entire residential building community. Plywood has increased over 60% in one year and its sibling, OSB, has risen in price by more than 70%.

Not only has the price gone up, there is a shortage of basic construction materials. Even things like appliances, cabinets, light fixtures, exterior doors, windows and plumbing fixtures are hard to find.

Suppliers like Mariotti Building Products continue to work hard restocking for their modular factory customers.

Going to Lowe’s or Home Depot used to be the choice of last resort for modular home factories but today they have trucks running to both and even following rumored supplies just to keep the production line moving.

There are many stories of factories shipping incomplete modules to builders and asking them to source the missing products (not lumber obviously) like siding, lights, exterior doors and windows. Then the factory has to reimburse the builder at a rate two or three times what it would cost if the work had been done in the factory. 

That’s what some factories have to do today in order for builders on track for completing the customer’s home.

Nobody knows if the Presidential election will have any effect on prices or supply. We can only hope that improvement in both areas happens before the Spring building season.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of the, blogs and the ‘coming soon’, Construction Consultant’s Directory. 


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