Frozen Winter and High Demand for New Homes Leads to Busy Spring for Builders

The harsh winter is finally starting to subside, despite the best efforts of Winter Storm Vulcan, but the effects of the record cold were felt by many businesses, particularly those in the home construction and renovation industry. Not only were laborers slowed by the biting cold, but machinery and equipment didn’t work as well in the freezing temperatures. As a result, many crews are weeks behind.

“I think most people understand, but with a six-week delay in the schedule, people’s patience (is) beginning to wear thin,” said president of the Milwaukee chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry David Pekel.

“It’s really causing people to have to tighten their belts and to defer some of their own expenses, because they don’t have the income that they normally would have and that they’ve budgeted to have because they were expecting to have steady work,” he added.

But even in Milwaukee, where the cold has made it quite difficult for construction crews to finish projects, permits to build new homes are keeping pace with last year’s numbers. There had been 414 permits issued in metropolitan Milwaukee, Dane County, the Green Bay-Door County region, and the Fox Valley and Racine-Kenosha area through February, according to MTD Marketing Services. That number was exactly the same as the year before.

Building continues to keep pace with last year despite the frigid temperatures outside,” said Dominic Collar of MTD. “Our research continues to show a high level of interest and inquiries for new home projects at municipalities across Wisconsin.”

“The increase in existing sales, low interest rates, and a competitive building atmosphere will continue to strengthen new home construction throughout the year,” he also said.

On top of that, renovations should certainly pick up as well. Of the 130 million housing units in the United States, 80 million are more than 30 years old and in need of renovation. Those homes might not show up in the study, but many were certainly put off during the tough winter and will need to be completed when the weather finally warms up.

With construction companies still battling to catch up as they thaw out, the high number of permits and renovations means that they will be in for a busy spring and hopeful homeowners might have to wait longer than they originally expected to move in. If that trend represents an improvement in the real estate market, however, a bit of waiting could prove to be a good thing.


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