Home Building Enters 2021 with Cautious Optimism

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Home building sales chart.

Suffice it to say that 2020 was an unusual year for the nation’s home builders, one in which rosy and robust forecasts flew out the window in March only to return beyond anyone’s expectations by the late summer and continue on a torrid pace into 2021.

Binsacca is editor-in-chief, of Pro Builder Media.

As it was, the responses to Pro Builder’s annual reader forecast survey picked up where builders left off a year ago, and then some. Representing a broad spectrum of the housing industry nationwide, there remains a general optimism despite lingering concerns and ripple effects from Covid-19, namely lumber supply shortages (and resulting price increases) and delays in delivering homes to satisfy record sales, which several builders noted.

Consider that while 41 percent of housing professionals expect to build the same number of homes in 2021 as they did in 2020 (a slightly higher share than predicted a year ago), another 52 percent expect to exceed this year’s numbers: some by a lot. And, more than two-thirds of builders expect their revenues to increase in 2021, as they did coming into 2020.

Read the complete industry report in 2021 Annual Report & Forecast.

With that, far more predict 2021 will be a “very good” year (11 percent think it will be “excellent”) and 77 percent consider the overall health of their companies to be “good” or “very good” going into the new year.

If there are any sidewinds or headwinds, it is with the cost and ability to build. More than 80 percent of builders expect materials costs and bid prices to increase, while that and finding qualified labor are the top two challenges by far.

As for whether the pandemic will continue to impact business through the new year and beyond, those who responded to the survey seem to be taking it in stride. “It definitely changed the way we do business,” said one, while another added, “We are used to the challenges now.”