Home appliance shortage, hot housing market mean ovens and dishwashers still hard to find | Business

The coronavirus pandemic quickly created conditions for a national device shortage last year and continues a year later.

On the demand side, home sales are brisk, and home-owned families have upgraded, refurbished, or simply worn out more quickly by using them more often. On the supply side, global factory closures due to COVID-19 outbreaks against a backdrop of high demand for raw materials have resulted in temporary shortages of critical parts.

“Our local housing industry is certainly affected by delays in deliveries of materials, which currently include appliances,” said Karen Zito, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Baton Rouge Home Builders Association.

“If these devices are not available as usual, large parts of the completion and closure of new houses are affected. The lack of equipment is likely to affect residential remodeling as kitchen remodeling has long been one of the most common types of remodeling projects. “

Home sales in the Baton Rouge area continue their hot phase.  See how much they put on weight in February

The number of homes sold on the Baton Rouge Metro in February was 27.1% higher than last year, continuing a nine-month hot spell year over year.

Things have gotten a bit better since the fall and there are still refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, washers and dryers around. But retailers say the consumer experience Americans have long been used to will remain illusory for some time.

“There are definitely some supply issues,” said Mike Gorman, co-owner and president of Gorman Brothers Appliances in Prairieville. “There are much longer lead times than a year and a half ago.”

Paul Klein, owner of Campo Better Living in Metairie, has a showroom with empty cabinets and counter cutouts where customers have opted for floor models of popular devices that they would otherwise have to wait for.

“People say, ‘Hey, I’ll just take it now,” he said. Klein admits that the aesthetic impact of the trend on his otherwise immaculate showroom “kills me as a merchandizer,” but said he had to sell what they did People want to buy.

Klein said wall-mounted ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers are currently extremely tight and the lower, cheaper end of many brands is hard to find as manufacturers focus on expensive models with higher profit margins.

He said freezers were hit very early in the pandemic when anxious consumers stocked up on meat and other items they wanted to freeze. Shortly thereafter, however, refrigerators ran short as schools and offices closed and availability issues with other equipment soon followed.

“All equipment dealers are doing well because people are now at home with their home office and use the equipment twice as often,” he said. “You’re a lot more in that fridge than if you work in the downtown office, mom is washing more clothes and you are doing more dishes, and those things are breaking down. “

Page Dyer, owner of Professional Appliance Repair, said work at her company had calmed down lately, but at its peak, the normal waiting time increased from 3 to 5 days to three weeks.

“I made a joke once that if I didn’t own this business I would stop being so busy,” she said.

Experts have long noticed how the pandemic exposed the weaknesses of a globally distributed supply chain. And Klein said in one case that production of a popular brand of refrigerator came to a standstill last year after a factory in Mexico that supplies a key component was shut down for months because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

According to Gorman, suppliers have told him that manufacturers are discovering a lack of stainless steel, a key component in appliances, and insulation for refrigerators.

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The bottlenecks continue to create a headache in the real estate world, which has increased as tenants and homeowners who stay at home try to move to bigger or better homes.

“Builders continue to report having problems sourcing wood and other building materials such as appliances,” Zito said.

“On site, some builders reported that devices had been reordered for months,” said Zito. “Although the equipment problem affects builders of all sizes, it is not quite as universal for smaller builders.”

In February, a survey by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo found that nearly 90% of home builders said they had problems getting equipment when they needed it in the past six months, and 51% said they had Problem occurred with a “major” was extent. “

Cody Stringer, an agent at Reve Realtors, said 15 new homes in the Irish Canal were about to close last fall when the developer found out their fridges wouldn’t be ready on time. After a brief mess, they found a replacement that matched the cutouts in the cabinets, but the builder had to eat an additional $ 1,200 per unit.

Stringer, who also owns Baccara Homes, said a headache with equipment shortages comes with wood costs, which have nearly tripled, and prices of other building materials are rising.

“Accessibility and cost make everything challenging,” he said.

While developing Spring Lakes in Covington, sales representative Nell Francipane said DSLD Homes needed to change its device packages.

All houses in the planned 300-house development will be equipped with the standard oven, microwave and dishwasher package. However, DSLD decided a few weeks ago that the upgrade package with refrigerator, washing machine and dryer can no longer be offered.

Francipane said the market is hot enough that such concessions don’t slow sales.

There were signs that the situation could improve by the end of the year. Device maker Whirlpool, for example, recently announced to investors that changes made to accommodate factory closures in China will help tackle the current backlog by the summer.

In Campo, where around 60% of sales come from builders and renovators, the rest from consumers, buyers either have to wait for the time being if they want something in particular or consider other options to get something faster.

“You have to be a little more flexible,” he said, “and you have to be a little more forgiving of which brands you are going to buy.”

Gorman said the delays varied depending on the product, but most people were patient.

“The customers are very understanding,” he said.

“Many manufacturers work with three crews 24 hours a day,” said Gorman.

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