Low prices, a great time to build
With the recent downturn in the housing market, we can see several advantages to building our own homes. If your income relies heavily on the housing market, you may want to ride this one out for a few more months. If however your income is an avenue from a different direction and you want to build a home, then now is a great time.
I have always based the overall cost of building materials on the price of the commodities at the hardware stores. Commodities are like lumber, sheetrock, plywood, and cement. To make things even easier, I usually check the prices of OSB(Oriented-Strand-Board) or more commonly called wafer board. This price seems to give a fairly accurate idea of the overall price of building materials.
Last fall, I predicted that the price of wafer board would go below $10 by the spring. Yesterday, I was in Home Depot and priced 7/16 wafer board at $4.97.
The price drop of building materials has been much more dramatic than I anticipated. It hasnt been this low for many years. I know that the Forest products companies are selling this at a loss so the price wont stay low for long even if we see a sustained weak housing market.
The price of lumber is also really low. Most of the building supplies are an excellent deal at the moment.
Now is a great time to build because you will probably save up to 20% on building materials alone. Sometimes we have to see the positive aspects of a weak housing market. So many people are out preaching death and doom about the economy, but in truth, its still very strong and we are in a good position.
The price of contracted labor has also fallen for those who dont want to do their own building. As the demand for skilled laborers decreases so does the price they get to charge.
Some of the higher priced items like windows and doors will fall as well, but not at the extremes we see from building products. They take a little longer to feel the affects of slow construction, so hold out for a little while longer on some of these things.
Several people have asked me if they can buy the materials now and keep them until its time for them to build. They want to take advantage of the low prices. As long as they keep the materials covered and protected from the weather, there wont be a problem at all. The best way to keep materials fresh is to keep them bundled and palletized.
If you buy a bunch of boards and let the sun get to them while they arent stacked, youll have a pile of spaghetti in a few months, so keep everything tightly bundled and it will be fine.
So get out and make some really fun building plans. Build your homes the way you want them. Have fun with it. I always do!