Amid Coronavirus Concerns, Homebuilder Forecast Shows Strong Market

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Homebuilder norm: on-site social distancing.
Social distancing on the job is the new norm.

Homebuilding is alive, well, and even flourishing in Dallas. And that’s coming from three of the city’s most well-respected (not to mention, busy) industry pros.

We checked in with Jeff Dworkin, president of JLD Custom Homes, following a weekly Zoom CBUSA networking call. Twenty-plus homebuilders agree: overall, the outlook is positive.

“For the most part, it’s business as usual. The only hesitancy is about adding more speculative inventory to the market, especially at higher price points,” says the builder.

JLD Custom Homes

There is one caveat: time. Delays have added two to four weeks to Dworkin’s average five month or less turn-around time.

“We’re limited to the number of subs we can send to a job at any one time. Smaller crews help with social distancing, but not getting work done as timely,” according to the veteran homebuilder.

Every homebuilder is advised to supply masks.
Masks are available on job sites.

Securing permits also present challenges. “What we could do in a day, now takes several weeks. And some, like demolition, are taking even longer because there’s no way to do it online,” says Dworkin.

On a positive note, orders and deliveries haven’t been impacted. “If anything is going to happen, it’s going to be 30 to 60 days down the road,” he says.

Alford Homes

By then, Alford Homes founder Greg Alford is hopeful the entire city will be back in business.

“It’s time to go back to work.”

“There are signs of it already. Two weeks ago, there was nobody on the road. Now, we’re seeing car after car on the toll road,” he says.

Currently, three Alford specs are available in Preston Hollow and the Park Cities; one more is on the way. In addition to local buyers, there’s been interest from New York and California.

Another homebuilder addition: hand washing stations.
Hand washing stations are a job site staple.

His biggest frustration? Like Dworkin, it’s not being able to work crews to capacity. “It’s definitely slowing us down.”

Industrywide, homebuilders are taking mandated guidelines seriously. The new normal includes hand washing stations, masks, and gloves. It’s also common procedure to check temperatures, practice social distancing, and adhere to the “one in, one out” rule.

“Nobody wants to take a chance on getting shut down.”

“We all need to do our part to follow the mandates. We can’t afford not to,” says Michael Munir, Corporate President and Chief Operating Office of Sharif & Munir. Internally, the luxury homebuilder is also following protocol. Company employees alternate working remote, and only a certain number can be in the office at any given time.

“During a draw week, it’s three, max. But in our 6,500-square-foot space, that’s more social distancing than at home,” he says.

Sharif & Munir Custom Homes

As for business, every project on the books — even the most ambitious — is moving forward.

“No one has put a stop on anything already underway,” says Munir. “Interest is definitely strong. I’ve even had a couple of Zoom calls with prospects in the design phase wanting to build new homes.”

Dworkin concurs: “The folks who are out there now are real buyers.”

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Elaine Raffel

Having left the corporate world to launch her own freelance creative business, Elaine Raffel is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the mega-talented Dallas homebuilding community. She credits her work with top fashion and design brands for teaching her one inarguably valuable lesson: that truly great work is always a collaboration.

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