How are tariffs affecting homes being built in B’ham?

Affordable housing and tariffs

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - According to recent numbers, there are a little over 900 building permits currently for housing in the city of Birmingham. That means homes that are about to be built or in the process of being built. Now real estate experts say tariffs are affecting the prices of those homes.

“We did see a lot of tariffs affecting pricing in 2018,” says Colt Byrom, vice president of Byrom Building Corp.

Those tariffs affect lumber and steel, two things builders obviously need a lot of to do their job.

Lumber, which Byrom gets from Canada, went up as much as 20 percent. Byrom says recently that’s gone back down, but it’s still affecting prices today. Steel, which he get from China, has gone up as much as 10-15 percent.

“That, on average, on a house that I would build, could have increased the home by $8,000-10,000,” says Byrom.

In some states, like Utah, home prices have doubled. As far as Birmingham is concerned, the median listing price for a house is just under $225,000.

But tariffs aren’t the only thing affecting a shortage of affordable housing.

“Lot shortages and land costs are driving construction costs up, as well as labor shortage, finding good labor,” Byrom said.

That means most workers today are nearing retirement age and not enough younger workers are taking their place. Byrom expects something to happen in the second quarter that will tell whether home builders will continue to get its steel from China or from the U.S.

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