Never in a million years did I think garage doors would be hard to buy, but post-COVID, here we are. During the pandemic, home sales rose to multiyear highs, even with the inventory of homes remaining very low. Home builders and contractors have increased their activity in the past year or so in response to the high demand for houses and shortage of existing homes on the market. To make matters worse, the home industry is struggling with global supply-chain issues due to pandemic-related delays, transportation delays, factory closures, and port-capacity limits. These problems have halted the flow of many materials and good integral to the home building process, including windows, garage doors, paint, and appliances.
Even though supply-chain delays for certain products showed signs of easing up at the end of 2021, contractors say that it is still taking weeks longer than usual to finish building homes. Through surveys conducted by the housing-market research firm Zonda, it has been found that around 90% of home builders said they were facing supply disruptions. These delivery delays have created a domino effect when it comes to work crews, which is then worsened more by a shortage of skilled tradespeople in a variety of markets.
With the shortage of products in high demand, material prices have risen dramatically. So far, many home builders and contractors have been able to offset increased material costs through an increase in price for home buyers. Since home prices are higher than ever with the median price of newly built homes rising almost 19% in 2021, some contractors are becoming concerned that they will inevitably price out potential buyers. Contractors are scrambling to try and find new suppliers in order to stock up on building products and substitute materials. Some contractors are even scouring big-box retail stores for products they have failed to find through their normal supply channels.
For example, one builder in Dublin, Ohio, known as Epcon Communities, had to shop online for metal shower grab bars because they weren’t available through the usual commercial suppliers. This company even had contractors resorting to buying electrical boxes in hardware stores. Ecpon went as far as selling homes without downspouts and gutters, installing those pieces after home buyers had already moved in. A company in Riverview, Florida, known as Homes by WestBay LLC, had to start ordering windows six months in advance due to the supply chain shortages.
Due to the issues with supplies, many contractors and home-building companies are having to sell houses later in the construction process, as they will be better able to predict the cost and schedules. Some builders are resorting to limiting the options for design features and floor plans, as they just don’t have the proper materials to accommodate more intricate and supply-heavy ideas. Due to these supply-chain constraints, contractors are producing less homes than they usually are able to.
In particular, many contractors and home-building companies saw a shortage of garage doors. Williams Homes Inc., based in California, had to scour the Western United States for garage doors. In Sacramento, California, garage-door delays engendered city officials to establish a provisional policy which allowed builders to close on homes with temporary garage doors.
Supply Chain Issues for Garage Doors
One of the main reasons that garage doors are in such short supply is due to the aforementioned supply-chain issues home builders and contractors are facing. Garage doors are made up of a multitude of materials, such as spray-foam insulation, polyurethane, and steel. These important materials are not easy to come by anymore due to problems with international imports, warehouse shutdowns, employee shortages, and many other issues that come with supply-chain shortages.
Increased Housing Demands
As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the economy. One way the pandemic did this was through causing living prices in cities to rise. With costs increasing, more and more people began choosing to move to houses farther away from these higher-traffic and heavily populated areas. This then caused an increase in demand for new housing, and this new housing placed more demands on materials like garage doors. With the increased demand for garage doors, coupled with supply-chain issues, there become a garage door shortage.
Newfound Interest in Home Improvement
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of people were stuck in their houses day in and day out. The increase in time spent at home caused more people to begin to renovate their homes and living spaces as they were spending large chunks of their days there. The home improvement industry started booming during the pandemic, and one of the most popular remodeling projects was the replacement of old garage doors. This increase in demand for garage doors due to home renovations, along with the supply-chain issues, played a large factor in the current garage door shortage.
How Does the Garage Door Shortage Affect Buyers?
Due to the supply-chain delays, buyers that were planning on moving are being heavily affected. The increase in material costs has ultimately increased the sale price of these homes, which is causing mortgage interest rates to continue to rise. Buyers may end up facing higher borrowing costs if their home closings continue to be delayed.
For a couple in Houston, supply-chain shortages really affected them. Coby and Tierrah Finger signed a contract to build a new home in the suburbs in January 2021. The home was expected to be finished by either August or September of the same year, which was perfect since their apartment lease was up by the end of September and they were welcoming their second child in October. Construction of their dream home was heavily delayed due to city permits, freezing weather, and of course material shortages. The family had to move in with Mr. Finger’s parents since the house was not finished by the time their lease was up.
The supply-chain shortages have caused a large backlog of uncompleted houses. While it is great that there is a high demand for houses, they supply-chain problems are stopping contractors and home building companies from truly reaping the benefits. Even though the shortages are slowly improving, it is hard to tell when the shortages for items like garage doors will be fully eliminated.