Rain Delays Could Cost Home Buyers

In the nation's hottest market for new homes, weather delays have been pushing projects back a month or more -- costing those looking to buy.

On the East Dallas lot that will soon become Abode at White Rock, Hoffmann Homes President Alan Hoffmann said the project's been delayed anywhere from 30 to 40 days. That means heavy equipment has sat idle, and a plan to grade the eight lots that will soon become homes keeps getting pushed back.

"It dries out, and then by the time it's dry, it rains again. So consequently, not only can we not get out here on the site, I can't get the dirt I need to bring to the site because the pits are flooded," Hoffmann said.

It's a problem experts said could slow the growth of home construction in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Last year, builders started 34,750 homes. But as 2019 continues, growth is expected to be flat, or perhaps even to drop, thanks to several factors -- including a labor shortage and rain.

When it comes to weather, Dallas Builder's Association Executive Officer Phil Crone said delays are the worst he's seen in the last five or six years.

Since March 1, North Texas has received more than 12 inches of rain, which is about four more than usual. 

"One or two isolated [storms], it's no problem. It's just part of the business," Crone said. "But when we have truly abnormal weather, we see a price impact that could impact the rest of the building season."

Not only, he said, do builders end up paying more interest on construction loans, which eventually trickle down to the buyer, but a basic rule of economics comes into play.

"When you have a lot of demand and not enough supply, prices go up, consumers pay more," Crone said.

For now, at his project, Hoffmann said those increases are nominal. Still, he's ready to get back to work so he can get his project back on track.

"The frustrating part is you want to get the product out, bring it to market, get the houses available. There's a lot of people waiting for them," he said.

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