Builders, It's Time to Pace Yourself

Finding success within the home building industry is ultimately a marathon, not a sprint. With demand being stronger than ever, many builders run the risk of overselling due to external factors like supply constraints and skilled labor shortages. Although times are good right now, builders must think strategically to protect their bottom line and keep customers happy. Earlier this week, Kevin Oakley from Do You Convert shared his conversation with Todd Dawalt from the Construction Leading Edge podcast discussing just that. With the current market being so strong, Kevin spoke about potentially “selling yourself into bankruptcy”.

Ultimately, builders need to shift their focus - from growing market share to finding the balance between supply and demand. How? Yes, you guessed it, through the power of real-time data. In this week’s blog, we dive into the current state of the market, and why builders must maintain a steady pace for growth to ensure their business is protected through the good, the bad, and the unpredictable.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE CURRENT MARKET

We all know, demand is high. Homebuyers are hungry to purchase, but limited supply is slowing things down. NAHB recently conducted a monthly sentiment survey that noted builders were slowing production to deal with the rising costs of lumber, steel, gypsum, and copper. They also estimate that the increase in lumber alone has added $36,000 to the cost of building the average single-family home.

Currently, supply constraints even trickle all the way down to the things that go into the home like large appliances. On top of all that, there is a significant shortage of skilled labor. Builders are experiencing an intense range of cost increases, supply-chain disruptions, and worker shortages- and no one knows how long the market will stay like this.

WHY IT’S TIME TO PACE YOURSELF

With incredible spikes in lumber and other construction costs, home builders are forced to slow production, while the line out the door continues to grow. This is exactly where the fear of overselling can quickly become a reality. While builders struggle to procure skilled labor, lumber, and other commodities, home buyer demand persists. Despite the prices for new and existing homes reaching record highs, buyers are still willing to pay. With this strong demand fueled by an improving job market and low mortgage rates in the US, buyers are willing to put up with a lot to get their new home.

But this should be read as a cautionary tale. Some builders may assume it’s great to have such a high level of demand. But with persisting supply constraints, builders run the significant risk of overpromising and under-delivering- may that be in terms of budget, timeline, or product. If home builders gain too many leads too quickly, your team won’t have the answers to the questions your buyers are asking. Now is not the time for massive growth, but rather home builders need to slow their pace (but not to a complete halt), to manage customer expectations and protect your bottom line.

WHY DATA-DRIVEN STRATEGY IS A BUILDER’S BEST FRIEND

With so many external factors at play, home builders must keep up with changing market conditions and fluctuating customer preferences. And real-time data is the ultimate tool you need to do that. This data provides powerful insights to combat the unpredictable market to help you find success not only today but in the future. The OpenHouse.ai Building Intelligence Platform uses machine learning technology to understand online buyer behaviors, ultimately creating data to drive your strategy.

In today’s market, it’s advised to keep model and community planning, simple and consistent with what your market wants. By building fewer floor plans that resonate with your buyers, you can build faster, more accurately, and ultimately reduce risk. But, how do you know what floor plans to build in what community? That’s where we come in. By understanding your website visitors’ intentions when shopping for a home, builders will know what floor plans are of most interest, to optimize every dollar, and reduce risk. With builders slowing their pace, now is the optimal time to take a step back and evaluate how you can leverage data to protect your bottom line and increase your margin.

SUMMARY

The last two years have been a total roller coaster for home builders. With market unpredictability, supply constraints, and skilled labor shortages, builders have a lot to manage. But one thing has become abundantly clear- builders need to take a step back, slow their pace, and re-evaluate how real-time data can keep you informed on the latest market trends.

Todd Dawalt’s Construction Leading Edge Podcast with Kevin Oakley offered a fresh perspective on topics that our OpenHouse.ai team is extremely passionate about. With such great demand for new homes across the US market, it is crucial that home builders remain focused on finding the balance between supply and demand, to ultimately reduce the risk of overselling. With OpenHouse.ai’s real-time data, builders will be able to create strategies that are relevant and timely to your unique market. Builders, remember that now is the time to pace yourselves. Rather than focusing on growing market share, take the time to understand your market to reduce risk and keep your customers happy.

-The OpenHouse.ai Team

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