Canadian_Lumber

Last week, the Trump Administration announced a new tariff of up to 24 percent on Canadian lumber. According to a report by CNN Money, Canadian lumber accounts for nearly a third of all lumber used in the United States, and the new duty could raise the price of homebuilding by six percent, on average.

“For builders, it’ll increase the cost of construction by about $3,000 on the average home, which unfortunately will be passed on to consumers,” said Jerry Howard, CEO of [the National Association of Home Builders].

Builders argue that higher prices will translate into a slowdown of construction activity that could cost 8,000 U.S. jobs and $500 million in lost wages.

How could a lumber tariff affect homebuilding in Dallas-Fort Worth? We reached out to John Scott of Scott Homebuilders for a clearer picture of how local trades and buyers could be impacted.

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dallas rain

Dallas rain is causing major delays at homebuilding sites, like 5802 Anita St. in East Dallas, a JLD Custom Homes site. Photo: Joanna England

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.”

dallas rain

“I always keep a pair of old mud shoes in the truck, these days, I’ve got two pairs,” said JLD Custom Homes President Jeff Dworkin. Photo: Joanna England

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.”

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Iris Hollow

The living room of the Iris Hollow model home, built by Sharif & Munir Uncustomary Custom Homes. All photos: Danny Piassick 

Luxury homebuilder Mickey Munir is no stranger to the Preston Hollow area—he’s been building remarkable houses there and all over Dallas for 35 years.

As founder and CEO of Sharif & Munir Uncustomary Custom Homes, Munir is spearheading another development in the area, Iris Hollow. The eight houses in Iris Hollow, which start at $2.35 million and range in size from 5,300 to 6,200 square feet, are built on land with a Texas-sized story and are perfectly suited to one of Munir’s fastest-growing buyers: the empty-nester.

The 3.5-acre estate at Hillcrest and Forest lanes belonged to Charles Elmer Doolin (and later his widow), a legendary Texas businessman and the inventor of the Frito corn chip and Cheeto.

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Home For Sale Sign Dallas

With Texas and Dallas clocking in a small uptick in inventory, everyone’s wondering if we the market is poised to stabilize soon and if our time of scarcity and rising prices is over.

According to the latest report from CoreLogic, not so much.

“Home prices are continuing to rise fueled by ongoing tight supply, low rates, and aggressive investor buying on the East and West Coast,” said President and CEO of CoreLogic Anand Nallathambi. “The expected surge in the number of homes for sale has not materialized to date as many homeowners are staying put and waiting for better economic times and higher prices in the future.”

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