January 31, 2023


Delighting home maniacs

Knoxville builder says home improvement materials, labor in high demand

Knoxville builder says home improvement materials, labor in high demand

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – When there is a low supply and high demand, the cost will go up. That seems to be the case when it comes to home improvement right now.

Josh Sanderson is a builder with Smithbilt Homes.

“Right now, you’re going to be paying the highest prices for these materials, and you’re not guaranteed to get them at that price,” said Sanderson.

He’s looking at a long list of clients trying to get a house or a remodel.

“We’re almost sold out for the entire year, and we’re already talking about 2021,” said Sanderson.

It’s the first time they’ll be taking reservations. He is working on a whole neighborhood of houses and has more in the works. In the last two months, the average cost for a house has gone up to $1,500 because of the increase in construction costs, especially lumber.

“Some of the supplies have decreased because of COVID and plants shutting down,” said Sanderson.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) index last July, the cost of a thousand-foot board would cost you $361. It’s up to $523 as of July 2020, almost a 70 percent increase in just one year.

The price is at a two-year high and is still rising, according to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

Andrew Edens owns Barnline Vintage Lumber. It’s a local business that strips the wood from barns and re-purposes it.

“The construction business has not slowed down in the Knoxville area based on my experience,” said Edens.

Edens’ sales keep increasing, but his pricing is consistent.

“We had a good stockpile of material, so COVID hasn’t affected the barnwood supply. And most of the people who are out there tearing down barns are still tearing down barns,” said Edens.

Both Edens and Sanderson say they don’t see the demand for home improvement ending any time soon.

“They have some money for a down payment thanks to the stimulus check, and now they’re ready to start a home and those DIY projects they watched on HGTV like my wife,” said Sanderson.

Sanderson says the price for windows, circuit breakers, and concrete is also high right now. People willing to do the job are also hard to find. They’re currently trying to hire more people.

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