Homeowners planning to renovate instead of buy met with labor and supply shortages

Nashville 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The National Association of Realtors says home prices in May experienced their biggest annual increase in more than two decades and Nashville homeowners are feeling the impact.

So instead of trying to find and buy new, homeowners are updating the old. However, there are some issues. Most home renovation projects are tough to do solo and finding skilled trade workers or contractors is becoming harder and harder to find.

“It’s the highest they’ve seen it in a long time,” said Clay Crownover, head of the Association of Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee, referring to the demand.

The culprit is mainly COVID-19, the pandemic, and its impacts. From supply chain constraints, labor shortages and the current housing market. renovations are becoming both more expensive and longer to obtain.

Brian Copeland, President of Greater Nashville Realtors says from 2020-2021 the average price to build a home went up $24,000, whereas, to reconstruct or renovate increased by 9.1 percent. Though both rose, Copeland says from a price standpoint it makes more sense to improve what you already have.

Meantime, a new survey from DEWALT, part of the tool company Stanley Black & Decker, found that more than half of Nashville homeowners plan to renovate their home as opposed to buying a new one. What’s more, they found seven in ten Nashville homeowners are considering or planning a renovation project in the next six months.

“There’s a little extra cash, people are home, people are doing bathroom, kitchen remodels, home offices that they now have, it’s a different market,” Crownover said.

According to DEWALT, the most common home renovation projects that Nashville homeowners are considering include bathroom remodels (37%), kitchen remodels (33%), porch/patio/deck makeovers (32%), bedroom remodels (19%) and landscaping (16%).

Contractors are needed most for electrical work (49%), plumbing (47%), structural work (37%), HVAC (37%), and flooring (37%) – all skills that are required for most of the top projects.

However, keep in in mind, these workers are limited.

“You can expect to wait right now, we have a huge labor shortage, and with an uptick in renovations that have come about you can expect to wait 3-5 months to get someone out there to do your renovations,” Crownover said.

Crownover says they’re trying to remedy the trade worker shortage at the Association of Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee.

To help address the issue, Stanley Black & Decker is partnering with the Association of Builders and Contractors of Greater Tennessee to help with workforce and business development opportunities such as their Emerging Leaders program and apprentice training initiative, in part by giving them a portion of their $50,000 donation to nonprofits in Nashville.

“This is the time now, if you’re in that 15–18-year-old range of age, be looking into trade labor, you can get top dollar for your skills and lower your education time by getting out in the field quicker and making money,” Copeland said.

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