Thanks to nearly two months of non-stop rain, DFW homebuilders are experiencing major delays and expect months of playing catch-up even though it has stopped.
Based on weather forecasts, that break might finally be here!
More than 26 inches of rain have fallen at DFW International Airport so far this year, including a record-setting 3.3 inches a week ago Sunday. This is now the wettest May on the books.
“The rain has been a killer on schedules—we currently have three homes under construction and have taken them as far as we can go in the inside, and are now at a dead standstill until we can finish the driveways and walkways on the exterior, not to mention fence, sprinklers, and landscaping,” said Michael Turner, owner of Classic Urban Homes. “We are telling potential new clients we are six-to-eight months out from being to take on any additional work.”
Other custom builders are in the same boat. Jeff Dworkin points to his house at 5802 Anita St. in East Dallas, pictured above.
“We’ve finished the inside, but the yard is a mud pit!,” said Dworkin, who is President of JLD Custom Homes and Past President of the Dallas Builders Association. “We can’t get fence in, irrigation, or landscape. It’s hard to make it look pretty when your ‘drive-up’ is just dirt. We have also been trying to get another one started at 5731 Vickery Blvd.—got the permit a week ago, but we are just stuck in the mud for now.”
Homebuilders are able to get work done up to a certain point inside new houses, but the risk of tracking in mud onto new carpets or hardwoods means even that part of the process is delayed. And every part of completing the homes’ exterior is delayed. A Prosper developer tells me one of his largest volume builders is 90 days delayed, the longest delay in the history of the company.
“We can sell homes, design homes, and permit homes while it’s raining—we just can’t start them. We have five queued up and all in the holding pattern until the weather breaks,” Turner said. “No sense in selling a new home and then not being able to start for six months without telling clients upfront. For the most part, people are willing to wait, as builders are all in the same boat.”
Brief moments of sunshine mean frantic outdoor work, if it’s possible.
The rain has been totally crazy and is really affecting all our projects,” said Les Owens, President of LRO Residential Development. “We are coping by doing anything outside we can when the sun shines, regardless of our normal schedule—basically if we can do it on the outside, when the rain stops we are doing it.”
Saad Chehabi, President and CEO of S&R Development, described the recent situation as, “Stress, constantly pumping water out of job sights, big delays, and upset clients.”
Once the rain stops, there are other problems to consider.
“Another side effect of all the rain and storms is Oncor is weeks behind on setting new poles and running new electrical services as they are busy taking care of storm damage,” Turner said. “I foresee a logjam coming earlier summer or whenever it stops raining. Subcontractors were already busy before the rains set in two months ago—this is only going to add to the backlog.”