Since COVID-19 made its debut on American soil, there have been a lot of shortages. At different points in time we have desperately searched for toilet paper, bottled water, ground beef, and, famously and recently, ham and sweet potatoes. However, the supply shortages for food and basic paper needs pale in comparison to the shortages currently stalling out the housing industry. As homebuilders desperately sought affordably priced lumber and ceiling joists, the single-family homes the market equally desperately wanted to buy went unbuilt. Now, as 2022 nears, it appears that home-building shortages will continue in the New Year.
According to a survey of builders conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders midway through 2021, this year brought with it the tightest levels of inventory in history when it comes to materials for building homes like lumber, appliances, windows, and doors. Nine in 10 builders reported insufficient access to appliances, framing lumber, and plywood, and warned the situation was worsening instead of improving. 12 months prior, only four in 10 reported decreases in access to these supplies.
In 2022, the shortages are going to continue. The question is only which materials will run short, when, and for how long. Okay. That’s more than one question. But you get the picture. This is complicated! We have a huge network of suppliers (not to mention service providers) who have been helping us navigate this crazy time, but we know it is important to always know what is coming down the pipeline. According to the NAHB, here are the top home-building shortages coming in 2022:
Glass shortages are already affecting the supply of glass jars and bottles, but a window shortage is probably coming in 2022. In fact, John Burns Real Estate Consulting is warning window delays could run up to 15 weeks – and maybe as long as 45! Don’t forget, glass is for more than just windows; this shortage will also affect doors, shower and bath makers, and the people who install windows, doors, and baths.
Lumber shortages plagued homebuilders this year and will continue to do so in the New Year. And if you were thinking that maybe you would just go with engineered wood products instead, think again. Those products are in short supply as well and not likely to become available any time soon.
Thanks to shortages of stone (and glass) in China, Mexico, and India, the U.S. homebuilding industry is now in dire need of access to concrete. Now that Congress has passed its trillion-dollar infrastructure package, that shortage is going to get even worse since the package includes upgrades to roads, bridges, and tunnels. Also, the concrete industry is facing serious pressure to reduce carbon emissions, which is likely to stall productivity in the short term even if the industry adapts. It seems unlikely that supply will meet demand in 2022 the way this is going.