The pandemic has disrupted, well, virtually every area of our lives. And there are a couple of words you've likely heard going around a lot in the past year or so: supply chain.
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The average shopper might not have thought about it before, but when things slowed, the results were stark. The process of getting goods has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, and those in the home building industry can attest to that. So can home buyers, who have noticed a significant delay in the process.
Among the many elements affected: garage doors. The Wall Street Journal reports that it's one of the biggest areas affected.
"Pandemic related factory closures, transportation delays, and port capacity limits have stymied the flow of many goods and materials critical for home building including windows, garage doors, appliances, and paint," the article explains. Because of this, there have been weeks added to the usual time frame of building a house.
It's something that neither home owners or builders can do much about. While the rest of the home might be done, the garage door might still be missing. From there, it's just a waiting game.
"Prices have doubled or tripled in the last year. Lead times have stretched from weeks to months," the New York Times reports. "Homebuilders who would once order garage doors several weeks before finishing a house are now ordering them before the foundation is poured."
The National Association of Home Builders has been tracking supply chain challenges over the course of the pandemic. In June of 2021, it found that "shortages of materials are now more widespread than at any at any time since NAHB began tracking the issue in the 1990s, with more than 90% of builders reporting shortages of appliances, framing lumber and OSB."
According to data the organization recently acquired in partnership with the Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, the longer lead times and lack of availability of building materials has been a consistently pressing challenge. It was "a predominant issue for the large majority (91%) of builders" in 2021 and "90% expect it will remain an issue in 2022."
Just a couple days later, the association shared that things aren't getting much better.
"Production disruptions are so severe that many builders are waiting months to receive cabinets, garage doors, countertops and appliances," NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter said in a statement.
Konter goes on to explain that this ultimately has an affect on affordability, since these challenges "are raising construction costs and pricing prospective buyers out of the market."
So if you see plywood or other materials covering a garage space, instead of a completed door — which, anecdotally, a number of people have noticed in their neighborhoods — now you know what might be behind the decision.