The housing shortage in the NWA is made worse by problems in the material supply chain

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – There is high demand for housing in Northwest Arkansas, and local builders say building materials are hard to come by.

The prices for lumber, steel and concrete also change daily. Supply chain issues, largely caused by the pandemic and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, are causing headaches for many home buyers.

Contractors like Brock Posey of Southern Brothers Construction in Springdale can’t get building materials fast enough.

“It goes all the way through the chain,” Posey said. “There are only broken pieces, something is going overseas, something is being hung offshore, all that kind of stuff.”

So contractors have to try different ways to speed things up. Especially for things like windows, which Posey said is taking up to six months to get in at the moment. They order windows the day they sign their contracts with clients, even before they start the project.

Another contractor, Sayed Ahmed of Ahmed Construction in Fayetteville, is encountering the same issues, so he needs to get creative with his materials. He starts using old shipping containers.

“I think these containers could be reused for our structure, making it more efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Ahmed. “It’s also faster and that’s the only way living space can become cheaper.”

With the changing cost of building materials, Ahmed says it’s difficult for contractors to produce accurate estimates for those looking to build a home, which is another factor that makes the process longer.

Posey said he doesn’t expect prices to go down because demand for homes is so high and people continue to buy those materials.

Ultimately, building affordable and timely homes is what matters most to local builders to keep their businesses afloat.

“That’s how we make our money,” Posey said. “This is our livelihood. So we take this seriously, we take what we do seriously.”

Alongside supply chain issues, the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit, reports that lumber costs three times what it was before the pandemic.

About Christine Geisler

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