Local contractors see business boom with high demand for new home construction

Published: Jan. 25, 2020 at 8:27 PM CST
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The rate of new home construction reached a nationwide 13-year-high last month. More homeowners are choosing to break ground rather than buy ready-built homes.

Across the country, new home builds jumped nearly 17% in December, hitting a record the U.S. hasn't seen since 2006.

The HBA Home Show in Springfield showcased contractors, cabinet specialists and other vendors from across the Ozarks this weekend.

Home builders in the Ozarks said business has been steady over the last few years, and that has led to some construction challenges.

"The business is booming right now," said Dusty Essick, of Essick Builders.

Essick said it's cheaper to buy a home than build one, but Southwest Missouri builders have stayed busy as people in the area want to break ground on their dream house.

"We have people come to us who say, we've been looking, we find the location we like but we can't find a house, or vice versa, we found the perfect house but we don't like the location."

Essick said the high demand has pushed back construction schedules.

"Compared to four, five, six years ago, it's about six to eight weeks longer to complete a house than it used to take just due to everyone being so busy and everyone trying to get subs in," he said.

Ryan Green, with First Choice Custom Homes, is stacked up, too.

"Yes, we do have a backlog," Green said.

Both said a lengthy list of clients is not a bad problem to have. According to Green, the biggest challenge he's facing is a shortage of skilled trade workers to complete the projects.

"We're having labor challenges right now so finding people to work in the trades is an issue that we're trying to overcome," Green said.

Both Green and Essick said, right now, new home construction can take about eight to ten months. Even though building a dream house can sometimes be a nightmare, these busy builders said having the right contractor can make all the difference.

"Keep that in mind, when you are building, it is stressful but it can be an exciting, rewarding experience, too," Green said.

Essick added homeowners should protect themselves by making sure their contractors are insured, which is a requirement to be a member of the Home Builders Association.

The HBA Home show will continue through Sunday at the Springfield Expo Center from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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