Content provided by Paula Wieck, CLS Manager of INvestment Research
The other night I was sound asleep…finally, after hours of tossing and turning. I woke abruptly to the faint sound of breathing in my ear and a figure by the side of my bed. Perhaps I’ve watched too many horror movies this past month, but my first thought was that an intruder had broken into the house and this may be the end. My heart felt as if it jumped out of my chest, as I thought about what I could quickly grab as a weapon. Should I scream? It was dark and it took a few seconds for my eyes and mind to adjust. At that point, I think I was just delirious from lack of sleep. I soon realized my idiocy, and am embarrassed by my stupid, irrational delusions. It was only one of my two-year old twins standing by my head.
In a dazed state, I scooped her up, still not knowing which twin she was, nor caring, and placed her in bed between my husband and myself. She nestled in by my side and fell fast asleep. But I didn’t. While my heart rate normalized, I was kept awake the rest of the night by her little hand slapping me in the face, her foot kicking my stomach, and worrying that I would roll-over on her. Ridiculous, right?
There have been many nights like that one, with slightly different scenarios. Even on the calmest nights when we don’t have a child waking us up, I lie awake, unable to sleep. You see, my whole family has been out of sorts lately, as we’re currently living with my in-laws as we await the completion of our new home. The children are all sharing one room thus causing total chaos most nights. None of us are sleeping in our own beds. The Wieck household is losing a lot of sleep.
I’m not trying to complain, it really could be worse. Not only do we have a roof over our heads, but we are anxiously anticipating the move into our dream home that we are building. The problem is, however, that we were supposed to already be in that home a month ago. And we were just informed by our builder that the completion of our home has been pushed back to the end of December. So what should have been four weeks living out of boxes and suitcases will turn into four months. While my in-laws are absolutely wonderful, I’m pretty sure they’d like their house back. I’m pretty sure we’d like our beds back. Living in someone else’s home has been a complete disruption to our lives.
Why the pushback? I suspect that the robust demand for new homes has created a shortage in supply, materials, and available labor to finish my house (and everyone else’s). Homebuilder confidence currently exceeds housing starts, which could be a leading indicator that construction will continue to increase (and probably continue to fall behind schedule). Existing home inventory is very low, not only from increased demand from traditional buyers, but institutional investors have also been scooping up homes. In fact, home purchases by institutional buyers reached a record high in September, pushing inventory down even lower than it would have been. All of these supply-demand fundamentals suggest the housing market expansion will likely continue and increased pressure will be placed on new construction.
So I’m probably not alone. I’m sure there are plenty of people in my situation, temporarily homeless as construction attempts to keep up with demand. In the meantime, I will try to lay off the horror movies. I’m sure that it won’t be the last time I find a figure at the foot of my bed in the middle of the night – at least until the end of December.