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Dallas homebuilders optimistic about market amid coronavirus concerns

Dallas homebuilders optimistic about market amid coronavirus concerns

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New homes are still going up. Photo by Ralph Bivins

Despite coronavirus-related restrictions, homebuilding is alive, well, and even flourishing in Dallas, say three of the city’s most well-respected (not to mention, busy) industry pros.

Following a recent Zoom networking call for trade group Custom Builders USA, Jeff Dworkin, president of JLD Custom Homes, said 20-plus homebuilders agree: overall, the outlook is positive.

“For the most part, it’s business as usual," Dworkin says. "The only hesitancy is about adding more speculative inventory to the market, especially at higher price points."

There is one caveat: time. Delays have added two to four weeks to Dworkin’s average five-month-or-less turnaround time.

“We’re limited to the number of subs we can send to a job at any one time," the veteran homebuilder says. "Smaller crews help with social distancing, but not getting work done as timely.”

Securing permits also present challenges. “What we could do in a day now takes several weeks," he says. "And some, like demolition, are taking even longer because there’s no way to do it online."

On a positive note, orders and deliveries haven’t been impacted. “If anything is going to happen, it’s going to be 30 to 60 days down the road,” he says.

By then, Alford Homes founder Greg Alford is hopeful the entire city will be back in business.

“There are signs of it already," Alford says. "Two weeks ago, there was nobody on the road. Now, we’re seeing car after car on the toll road."

Currently, three Alford specs are available in Preston Hollow and the Park Cities; one more is on the way. In addition to local buyers, there’s been interest from New York and California.

His biggest frustration? Like Dworkin, it’s not being able to work crews to capacity. “It’s definitely slowing us down,” he says.

Industrywide, homebuilders are taking mandated guidelines seriously. The new normal includes hand-washing stations, masks, and gloves. It’s also common procedure to check temperatures, practice social distancing, and adhere to the “one in, one out” rule.

“We all need to do our part to follow the mandates. We can’t afford not to,” says Michael Munir, corporate president and chief operating office of Sharif & Munir.

Internally, the luxury homebuilder is also following protocol. Company employees alternate working remotely, and only a certain number can be in the office at any given time.

“During a draw week, it’s three, max. But in our 6,500-square-foot space, that’s more social distancing than at home,” he says.

As for business, every project on the books — even the most ambitious — is moving forward.

“No one has put a stop on anything already under way,” says Munir. “Interest is definitely strong. I’ve even had a couple of Zoom calls with prospects in the design phase wanting to build new homes.”

Dworkin concurs: “The folks who are out there now are real buyers.”

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A version of this story originally was published on CandysDirt.com.