Cost of building a home in Florida has doubled thanks to pandemic

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:

The pandemic has caused Southwest Florida’s population to balloon.

Lots of people are considering building their dream home in paradise but because of the short supply in materials and labor, experts say it will cost you.

Lumber, windows, cabinets and even porta-potties are hard to come by this year.

Justin Einstein with Aubuchon Homes said that the challenge is making it more expensive to build a home.

“It takes longer to get materials, it’s taking longer to find the skilled labor on our job sites. And it’s certainly a challenge,” Einstein said. “Everything that we’re seeing now shows a consistent trend of increased pricing, especially over 2022 into early 2023, probably an additional double-digit increase somewhere between another 13 to 17%.”

A custom home built in Fort Myers that is 5,000 square feet with three bedrooms and a three-and-a-half-bath would have taken 12 months to build in 2020. But, now it takes 16 or 17 months, Einstein said.

According to the National Association of home builders, in January 2022, there were 380,000 construction positions open.

“We are not seeing those younger tradespeople come back into our marketplace and be able to continue on that tradition that that’s so necessary,” Einstein said.

It’s a chain reaction that has a lot to do with the pandemic, Einstein said.

“Back in 2018, 2019, one out of every 10 homes that was sold was a new construction build,” Einstein said. “That number has changed now to almost four out of every 10 homes that’s being acquired as a new construction home because of the diminished inventory.”

Specifically in Florida.

“There’s certainly an overwhelming amount of land here still to be built on. But the population is growing so quickly that the cost of that land continues to escalate,” Einstein said. “So lots, again, lot prices that in 2020, may have been sub $100,000, depending on the location, if it’s a waterfront property could have tripled or quadrupled in value. So obviously, the cost of acquiring that land has become increasingly more challenging.”

And since it’s Southwest Florida, you can’t cut costs for building your dream home.

“Because our homes most importantly need to be safe, need to be able to survive a hurricane be able to survive the storm events that come with living in paradise,” Einstein said.

Einstein sees building a home in the Sunshine State as an investment but also thinks shortages are here to stay.

“I really think that that is certainly going to last through 2022. All indicators are that is going to spread into 2023,” Einstein said.

The cost to build a home has doubled compared to pre-pandemic years.

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