Demand for homes stays steady in Tomball, Magnolia despite increased costs, limited materials

According to a report released June 17 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 94% of contractors reported cost fluctuations in building materials moderately or highly affecting their business. Mike Dishberger, CEO of Sandcastle Homes and former president of the Greater Houston Builders Association, said price increases like these have happened in the past, but this year is different.

“I’ve been doing this since the '80s, and the big difference this time is the [materials] going up in price aren’t going up 5% or even 10%—they’re going up 25%-30%,” Dishberger said.

Dishberger said the rise in costs is due to increased demand in building or remodeling homes during the pandemic, which led to a supply shortage. He also said that because a lot of these materials are coming from overseas, the supply channels in the United States have not been able to keep up with shipping the materials.

While lumber is of primary concern for contractors, according to the chamber report, developers familiar with the Tomball and Magnolia area said they are experiencing shortages and cost increases for other materials as well. Matt Sneller, who owns Sneller Custom Homes and Remodeling and works in the Tomball area, said he has also seen copper prices rise threefold over the past six months.

Tom Cox, owner of Gracepoint Homes, which is building in Magnolia Reserve off FM 149, said it took three weeks to receive an order of bricks in January. Now, he said the most common bricks he uses are taking 27-50 weeks to arrive.

“In all 28 years [I’ve been building homes], I’ve never seen the cost run like this,” Cox said. “I’ve been through drywall shortages [and] lumber shortages, but I’ve never seen it like this.”

Housing demand, prices

Cox said the supply shortage and rise in costs of materials have led to an average cost increase of $30,000-$35,000 for the homes he constructs as well as a time delay of 60-85 days. Similarly, Sneller said it costs him 30% more to build the same house today he built a year ago.

Even though these costs are passed on to the consumer, both Seller and Cox said it has not resulted in less demand for homes.

“I would have thought that we would see a slowdown because of how expensive it is, but I feel like we’re seeing the opposite,” Sneller said. “There’s even greater demand to just keep moving forward with projects.”

In the last six months, Sneller said he has had one out of the 15 projects he is working on pause construction due to rising costs and limited supply. Sneller said the continued demand may be because homeowners are fearful costs are going to continue to rise, so they want to get their construction done now.

Cox said even with increased costs, local homes appear to be affordable for people moving to Texas from more expensive states such as California and New York.

Despite being able to overcome the increases in costs for now, Cox said it is a “constant battle” on multiple fronts, including finding quality subcontractors and skilled workers.

“We’re battling costs on everything that goes into a home,” Cox said.

Danica Lloyd contributed to this report.
By Chandler France

Reporter, Tomball/Magnolia

Chandler joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Southern California, where he was the executive editor of Annenberg Media. He previously interned with the company in Gilbert, AZ and with the Beacon Project, an investigative reporting team in Los Angeles. Chandler is originally from Laguna Hills, CA.


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