Is Now a Good Time to Build a New Home with COVID-19?

For those who are in stable job situations who have been wanting to build a new home, this could be an incredible opportunity to take advantage of the rock-bottom mortgage rates.

The housing market was primed to be very strong this spring with high employment, a strong economy, low inventory, and low mortgage rates. 2020 is not the same situation as 2008 when the housing market bottomed out. That recession occurred because many loans were made to people who really couldn’t afford them. The housing market crashed and took the economic sector with it.

Pandemics, however, are a different issue. The economy was at record highs before COVID-19 arrived on the scene.

Zillow did some research about how pandemics have historically impacted the housing market that shows some encouraging things:

  • Economic activity declined significantly during the pandemic then bounced back to normal.
  • Pricing didn’t fall significantly but the number of transactions fell for a time.

If you have your heart set on building a new home, you may not have to wait to build.

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) has developed COVID-19 recommendations to help the entire industry be able to safely move forward with commercial and residential projects.

What is the construction industry doing to respond to COVID-19?

The construction industry wants to do all it can regarding exposure prevention, preparedness, and a response plan to the coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully, construction has been classified as an “essential” industry during this crisis. Many building projects can get started or continue.

CISC guidelines

The CISC recommends that all workers follow current OSHA and CDC guidelines.

OSHA and the CDC have provided the following control and preventative guidance to all workers, regardless of exposure risk:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Follow appropriate respiratory etiquette, which includes covering for coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

In addition, employees must familiarize themselves with the symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Early symptoms such as chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and runny nose.

There are also OSHA and CDC guidelines for exactly how workers are to handle entering occupied buildings and homes, how they are to visit job sites, what personal protective equipment they should have, and how to clean and disinfect job sites before, during, and after work.

You can find all of the recommendations for construction industry workers here.

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Check with your mortgage lender

Be sure to check with potential mortgage lenders, as well. Find out your credit score, ask about the home loan options that are available like 30 year fixed rate loans and adjustable-rate mortgage arms.

Find out if you qualify for a VA loan. Ask about if you will need mortgage insurance and get your budget figured out before you build. Decide what monthly payment you are willing to make.

There are some amazing deals right now for those who are willing to investigate.

Check with your custom home builder

Here are some questions you can ask your builder to help set your mind at ease and see if this may be a good time for you to begin building your new home.

11 questions for your home builder during COVID-19

  1. Are you still building like normal?
  2. What disruptions are you seeing or expecting in the coming months?
  3. How is your supply chain situation?
  4. Are you still able to get building permits and inspections like usual?
  5. What is your construction time estimate compared to normal?
  6. Are the current regulations affecting your ability to build new homes?
  7. What touchless options do you offer for your clients?
  8. Do you offer virtual meetings?
  9. What CDC policies are you adopting now? (Social distancing, hand sanitizing, masks, washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, etc”¦)
  10. Are you following all of the current OSHA and CDC job site guidelines?
  11. What will closing costs be?

Once you talk with your builder about building times, expected delays, and other issues, you may decide that you can build a new home in a pandemic.

Note – As of July 5, 2020, the Columbia area housing market is doing very well!

People want to build custom homes with more rooms to accommodate in-home offices, study spaces for the children, and have more space for home gyms and outdoor activities in their backyards.


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