PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- In a time when the pandemic has hurt so many businesses and entire industries, home building in Arizona is going strong.

“We have a lot of Californians coming in and kind of leaving their area and coming to our area,” said realtor Amber Cheramy-Lyon, who is also the listing agent for Seville Builders.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic really put a beat-down on the economy in 2020, it hasn’t stopped people from buying homes. Just about any realtor will tell you Arizona doesn’t have a huge supply of them.

“We didn’t build for so long, say 5 or 10 years ago. We were struggling in that recession, so we didn’t build enough houses, and now we just don’t even have enough houses,” Cheramy-Lyon said.

Linda Otis and her husband are building a new home up in Lake Havasu, but that wasn’t their plan from the beginning. “We looked at existing homes, but the homes were taken,” she said. “The homes we went into, people had already put bids in on them.”

In August 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported just under 3,000 new, single unit homes in Arizona. In August 2020, that number was up by 725. Aside from the pandemic, the price of lumber has been a factor – it has doubled in the past few months. “Entire lumber yards have burned down in Oregon, so we just have a very short supply,” Cheramy-Lyon said.

But even that still isn’t keeping home buyers like the Otises away from new builds. Fortunately for them, the lumber prices won’t affect them. “We got in just in time, yes,” Otis said.

Cheramy-Lyon says this surge of home building will probably continue, and depending on where you build, it could even save you $50,000 to $100,000 compared to an existing home.

 

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