Looking back at a challenging year for homebuilding

NEFBA President Joshua A. Garrison's members faced shortages and inflation.

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It has been a year of adapting and making do for homebuilders in 2022. The supply chain issues that began with a lumber shortage and spiking prices in 2021 grew to include nearly every aspect of construction.

Windows, garage doors and even specialty glue were in short supply.

Projects may be further delayed because land clearing and infrastructure construction are in limbo. JEA reports that transformers are on a two-year backorder.

Northeast Florida Builders Association President Joshua A. Garrison finishes his term with members confirming it has been a challenging year.

“I learned that the challenges against our industry have been relentless, constant and from numerous directions,” he said.

Inflation has made it difficult to price materials and determine the cost of construction.

“Inflation caused much of the trouble in 2022 and interest rate hikes aim to solve that looking forward. But it’s those same rate hikes that threaten demand in our single-family sector,” Garrison said.

He also wondered whether the influx of new residents from California and New York will continue to drive sales and the need to build more homes at a faster pace to meet demand.

The market from 2019 through 2022 saw growth in permitting for single-family homes in Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties: 10,345 building permits were issued in pre-pandemic 2019; 12,555 in 2020; a near-record 16,138 in 2021; and 12,750 through November 2022. 

The highest year since 2000 has been 17,753 permits in 2005.

Labor shortages resulted as experienced craftsmen retired with a shortage of younger professionals to fill jobs.

Government legislation is proposed that could raise the cost of doing business.

“Sometimes threats simply arise from circumstances that no one directly intended,” Garrison said.

“That could be a lack of infrastructure material within the government or a lack of mitigation credits for developers at the state level.”

Garrison credited the NEFBA staff for a successful one-year term as president.

He also noted the work of NEFBA Executive Officer Jessie Spradley, who was promoted to the position this year. 

Garrison said working closely with staff led to NEFBA, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, making its budget this year.

Membership grew from 1,042 to 1,187 builders and associates after a better-than-expected recruitment drive.

Christopher Wood, vice president and owner of Riverside Homes, is succeeding Garrison. Per NEFBA bylaws, Garrison will remain on the executive committee in 2023 to offer advice and insight from what he has learned as president.

“I’ll act as an adviser as needed for our new president. Maybe there are some stories I can share or advice I can give as situations come up if the new president desires,” Garrison said.