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Why it's still taking longer than normal to build new homes

Starting this weekend, you can tour more than 30 newly built homes in this year's Parade of Homes. Several of them are for sale by various builders in West Michigan.

CALEDONIA, Mich. — Starting this weekend, you can tour more than 30 newly built homes in this year's Parade of Homes. Several of them are for sale by various sellers in West Michigan. 

"Parade of homes has been a long standing event for the Home Builders Association," Sable Homes President John Bitely says. "It is a major fundraiser for them. It provides a lot of neat exposure for the builders' homes, but also for the community and people to go out and see the homes, tour them."

A newly built home in Caledonia is one of 31 houses on this year's parade route.

"This lot is beautiful lot. It was leftover from pre-COVID," Bitely says. 

The road to build this house and others like it has come with some challenges since the start of the pandemic.

"We have a lot of costs in the development world, developing neighborhoods and properties is difficult," he says. "That's driving up the cost of the lot."

Bitely says the good news is they've gotten better at planning things out, after two years of supply chain issues.

"We're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, there are items that still take eight, ten and sometimes even 12 weeks to get," he says. "But as a whole, you know, like our garage doors, many times we're ordering them when we're digging the basement. But by doing that, we have them by the time the house is done."

On top of supply chain issues, there's the rising cost of shipping and fuel affecting the price of products. There's also a shortage of hands actually doing the construction.

"Whether it's cement, landscaping, siding, and roofing, plumbers, electricians; all the trades are very tight, and they're working a lot hours," Bitely says.

He says it's still taking longer than normal to build a new home.

"We're still not back to guaranteeing timelines," Bitely says. "There's just a few too many variables to give a firm exact timeline. But yet, we're getting it within a month or two now. So that's way better than a while back."

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