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'Construction time is slowing down and time is money': Cost of building new homes skyrockets

Materials and labor are just a few of the reasons the cost of building a new home has shot up.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you're looking to buy a home right now... good luck. 

One Tampa Bay area realtor said they will run out of homes to sell in Pinellas County in less than a month.  

What about building a new home? Well, that comes with some issues too, because there's high demand there and a shortage of supplies. That could have you paying more than you might expect.

It's easy to simply blame this on the pandemic. As our homes became our office, our school, our gym, restaurant and even entertainment centers, people started realizing they wanted something that would better fit their needs. Then the demand to build your own home went up. 

Jennifer Motsinger is the Executive Vice President of the Tampa Bay Builders Association. She said there's a lot more going on that's causing prices to spike. That includes materials and labor. 

All costing more these days, but none more than lumber.  

"You've had 180 percent increase in lumber prices just from this time last year. That adds about $24,000 to a home," Motsinger said. 

Add that to regulatory charges and Motsinger said it's another price hike.

"Impact fees, as they're called here, jumped from 9,000 to 25,000."  

This means it costs about $30,000 more to build a home. 

"For every thousand dollars a house goes up in price, 154,000 people across the country are pushed out of the housing market, so, therefore, they can no longer afford the American dream of homeownership because affordability is so difficult," said Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder here in Tampa and the Chairman of the Board for the National Association of Home Builders.  

Finding skilled, licensed contractors is also becoming an issue as the demand continues to build more homes.  

"Construction time is slowing down and time is money," Fowke said. "It's a challenge for the entire country now and there's a lot of uncertainty here because we've never really experienced this." 

Besides lumber, getting other building materials are also a problem. Fowke said he's building a custom home in Fishhawk Ranch. He ordered the windows on November 24, and they still aren't here. That causes a domino effect in slowing things down because there are other things they can't do until those windows are in. 

Also, keep in mind that if you buy an existing home with hopes to fix it up, you may run into the same problems with materials. It's also hard to find licensed contractors who aren't already slammed with jobs.

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