August 17, 2020

CoronaVirus Blues, NY Times, Lumber prices, and...

It's tough communicating to kids about this virus, but I thought this cover was really helpful.  It's funny, but real, hilarious, but sort of sad.

One thing that has been consistent among all the newness of this virus life is the unpredictable nature of it, the way new unexpected hurdles keep popping up from nowhere.   Lumber shortages, and some other products, have been in short supply, in weird ways.  Deck lumber, concrete stain, pressure treated lumber.  The fear in the back of mind is a shortage we can't be without, some sort of lumber that prevents us from moving forward, but that hasn't happened yet.  A friend of mine's dad said he ordered some dock lumber, and paid a third more and waited 2 months.




Anyways, my point is we are seeing incredible price inflation in framing lumber.  20%, 25%.  Too much demand, not enough supply.   It's hard to square the unemployment rate, the small business failure, the stock market rise in the face of declining consumer demand, and the robustness of the economy.  Really makes me wonder what is around the corner, and no matter how good our today is, I'm super aware of the trap that is being set in terms of optimism, especially in the marketplace I work in.  It's a quandary, since I'm just about ready or have just begun, 8 houses of framing, meaning I'm swimming right into the mouth of the inflation shark.  We shall see what we should do, or have to do. Above, pic of all the lumber going up in cost like a runaway train.

It's not a time to be new in business - while the opportunity is large, the risks seem as large.

For instance, the NYTimes comes up with a new article of nonsense, and I don't even mean that meanly, like I normally do.  

New Style of Country Home Takes Root

Most of the article is about a development in Green County that hasn't built a home, hasn't overcome one hurdle, hasn't weathered one unexpected disaster, hasn't put together one team.  A NYTimes spread about a home that doesn't exist.  They mention Hudson Woods, but from what I hear, while Hudson Woods did build out their project in Kerhonkson, they got their asses kicked by the process, the lack of labor, the lack of subcontractor depth, and even though they were selling houses at twice the price they should have been listed at, was still so unprofitable they decided to do no more.  Sleight of hand, selling air, branding over product.  I feel our clients are way too smart for that.  In fact, I feel our clients are the smartest of the bunch.

But it does get my undershorts a bit in a knot, in a low fever way, because it is so undeserved.  It literally doesn't exist and even if they were superstuds, which they never are, we are talking 2 years before someone moves in.  This is a story that will harm a lot of lives, with big deposits on homes that are never produced, or produced much in the future at half the promised glory. Seen it, watched it before.

It appears some of the karmic 'for every good thing will be an equally bad thing' existence I had going seems to be fading, but wow, I'd almost give up the tubular rad wave of awesomeness with surf daily for a little less drama.

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