The housing industry has finally been on a recovery track for the past two and a half years with builders pulling permits. What’s been going on in Flagler County number-wise?
Flagler County has shown significant year over year growth. We had just a few less permits pulling in 2020 than in 2006!
Prices are rising for goods and raw materials. How is this impacting your members and the industry at large?
The astronomical cost of supplies, especially lumber has been devastating to all. It has effected builders who have for the first time in their careers have had to utilize the escalation clause in their contract. More importantly, the people who are being effected are the new home buyers. Housing affordability is in grave danger. Additionally, material shortages have held up progress and even caused builders to limit the number of contracts they will take each month.
Can you explain how the rising prices impacts buyers and even sellers of a fixer upper? Do you see this as ‘market cooler’ to slow down growth or a result of something else?
In a fixer-upper situation, the rising prices of materials will likely limit the amount of updates that can be done by the buyer. For a seller, they will still be likely to earn a profit in the sale but the cost of materials will limit what they can do pre-sale. Typically before selling a house, a seller will make some updates to increase the appraised value. I think that will happen less. The only buyers who are doing okay are those coming from other parts of the United States where the cost of living is significantly higher. When they sell their home, they can come to Florida and buy a new or resale home and still have plenty of money left over.
Anything you can share about the Flagler Beach Land Development Code rewrite and what that could mean for your members and the industry?
The Flagler Beach LDC Rewrite is no easy task. We thank Larry Turino for all of his efforts. We are currently in the process of reviewing the document which is vital because LDC rewrites don’t occur often. So far, we only have a few notes. It is very important that the language in the document is clear and is consistent with the goals of the LDC so that interpretation cannot take over at any point.
What does the recent HB 337 mean for the industry and communities across Florida?
HB 337 is favorable for the building industry as well as any resident who will be purchasing a new home. Impact fees are tacked on to the buyer’s cost, although they’re initially paid by the builder. This bill limiting the increases on impact fees will help create consistency; a high increase in impact fees could easily price a buyer out of homeownership. We are pleased with Governor DeSantis signing the bill.