Housing developers, including Habitat Spartanburg, are feeling the pinch of high construction costs and material delays.
Habitat Spartanburg, along with other Habitat affiliates, were first hit with volunteer restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, affiliates relied on the support of corporate and foundation partners as ReStores reopened.
Now, Habitat Spartanburg has increased the cost of its full home sponsorship by $10,000 to $80,000 to offset increased construction costs. Other Habitat affiliates, such as Habitat Greenville, have taken similar measures.
Habitat for Humanity is one of the top residential homebuilders in the U.S., ranking as the 20th largest builder last year, according to Builder.
Peggy Magarahan, director of construction for Habitat Spartanburg, compared actual home costs of a home completed in 2021 with a home built in 2020. The actual increased costs in framing materials, including trusses, were $8,000.
"Lumber is in supply, but the prices have skyrocketed," she said. Lumber prices, according to the National Association of Homebuilders, increased by more than 300 percent since April 2020, according to the Associated Press. Demand for new homes, and demand for supplies for renovation projects and other factors have kept costs high.
Not only are affilaites reeling from increased costs, Magarahan said she must order materials in advance to ensure delivery.
"Nobody has siding," she said. "Windows have been backordered up to 16 weeks. Aluminum is backordered 12 weeks. Appliances are hard to get and there are no Whirlpool refrigerators for our homeowners."
In addition, electrical wire is difficult to obtain and trusses must be ordered about eight weeks in advance.
Meeting deadlines are key to ensuring Habitat homeowners can close on their homes. To offset material delays, Habitat Spartanburg has scheduled more Critical Home Repair projects in its new home construction schedule for fiscal year 2022.
The good news is Habitat Spartanburg's financial outlook remains strong. The affiliate is well-funded for the FY21/22, ReStore sales are strong and a large percentage of Habitat Spartanburg homeowners are making on-time mortgage payments.
"Our sponsors understand the importance of affordable housing for low-income, deserving families," said Lynne Shackleford, director of development and marketing. "The pandemic put a magnifying glass on the issues so many families already face. The upside is in Spartanburg, flagship corporations and foundations understand the plight of hardworking families who simply will never earn enough to have a home of their own, but do earn enough to make a modest mortgage payment. We're so thankful to those who continue their support."