People from all over the country are finding their way to Texas and many of them are settling down in Austin. The city of Austin reports 115 people are moving to the Austin area every day; 45 into the city limits. That leaves 70 people a day looking outside of the city and the Lake Travis area has been a hot spot on the relocation radar.
The last time new home construction in the Lake Travis area experienced this kind of demand was back in 2006. You could drive through the new residential developments and see 50 to 100 homes going up. Land was being cleared, slabs were getting poured, and it seemed like framing crews were slapping up houses overnight.
When the market experienced the meltdown, demand for new construction and resale homes in the Lake Travis area came to a screeching halt. Driving through the areas that were planned for new development was like driving through a ghost town. The construction jobs dried up and a large number of workers left the area, or even the country, in search of other work.
This year, the Lake Travis area is seeing a huge increase in building permit applications. The city of Lakeway is on pace to see between 300-400 new homes built in 2013. As the demand for new homes increases, builders and their subcontractors are having a hard time finding the experienced crews needed to meet the demand for new homes.
The National Association of Home Builders reported back in March 2013 that 46% of its members say they have fallen behind schedule. 15% turned down jobs, 9% lost or canceled jobs. Things didn’t get any better over the summer as buyer demand for new homes continued to rise and finding skilled tradesmen remained difficult.
If you’re looking to build a new home in the Lake Travis area, there are good reasons to be concerned about the quality of new construction. Unfortunately, when demand for new homes goes up, the quality of construction goes down. The best crews are in high demand, deadlines are not met, work is rushed, and major defects become more common.
It’s important to make sure your builder is able to deliver the same high quality home even though the ups and downs of the real estate market might have them dealing with a shortage of experienced help in the area.
Having buyer representation that is familiar with new construction, the builder, and the builder’s construction manager will help minimize your risk. Knowledge gained from past experiences with the builder will be an invaluable resource.
Hire an inspector that will perform several inspections through-out the building process including a pre-drywall inspection, and an inspection before your final walk-through. You can also have another inspection performed before your home warranty expires.
Don’t assume your builder, the builder’s third party inspector, or the contractors did everything right just because the home passed code. An inspector and a real estate agent that is knowledgeable about home construction is your last line of defense against major defects — and major headaches.
Check out the Lake Travis Real Estate section for more information on historic landmarks, area neighborhoods, buying and selling tips, and local market conditions.