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Activity Strong Although Project Backlogs Persist, Survey Finds

PALO ALTO, CA — Businesses in the residential construction and remodeling sectors anticipate “strong activity” through the balance of 2021, although many companies report steady increases in backlogs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with wait times of nearly three months before new projects can begin.

That is the key finding of the Q4 2021 Houzz Renovation Barometer, a quarterly gauge that tracks market expectations, project backlogs and recent activity among U.S businesses in the construction and architectural/design services sectors. Results of the survey were released this week by Houzz Inc., the Palo Alto, CA-based online platform for home remodeling and design. The survey was fielded Sept. 28 through Oct. 8th, the company added.

“Confidence prevails across the industry through year-end, despite the ‘Expected Business Activity Indicator’ dipping slightly compared with the very high level posted last quarter,” said Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist.

“We’ve seen some settling of home renovation and design activity following record high performance earlier in the year,” Sargsyan observed. “Yet many businesses are struggling to catch up with heightened demand as they navigate supply chain challenges and labor availability, leading to record-long backlogs.”

More than half of surveyed firms in both the construction and architectural and design services sectors report challenges with product and material shortages and increased costs as of the beginning of Q4, Houzz said.
While only half of businesses anticipated heightened costs for raw materials – such as lumber, copper, steel, plastic, and aluminum – more than two-thirds reported that these materials actually increased in cost over the past quarter. More than nine in 10 construction businesses reported moderate to severe skilled labor shortages, Houzz added.


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