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Appliance, Furniture Shortages Causing Headaches

May 18, 2021

House hunters may overcome inventory challenges to finally find a house, but other inventory shortages abound in outfitting their new home. New-home buyers continue to scramble to find appliances and furniture as manufacturing shortages loom. What’s more, the shortages aren’t expected to ease anytime soon, and in some cases, they’re delaying transactions from closing.

In March 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down most aspects of the economy, including the appliance sector. “The pandemic has impacted production in the U.S. manufacturing plants as factories have to operate with less workers on site or on staggered shifts as part of social distancing precautions,” Gay Cororaton, director of housing and commercial research at the National Association of REALTORS®, told Bankrate.com.

Further, the housing market is booming with new- and existing-home sales and current homeowners also are spending more on remodeling projects. That increase in demand also has prolonged shortages.

Nearly 90% of home builders reported in February that they were having trouble obtaining appliances over the last six months, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders.

More real estate pros are reporting delays in closings due to missing appliances. Emily Becker, a real estate pro with Warburg Realty in New York, told Bankrate.com that one of her closings had been delayed for that reason. The appliances were to arrive in March and still hadn’t by the beginning of May.

Homeowners also are having difficulties finding furniture in stock due to high demand and supply chain disruptions. Furniture manufacturers are reporting delays of four months or longer.

Some buyers are being flexible on their offers—not only to make it stand out in a bidding war but also to accommodate these shortages, real estate pros report. Some buyers, for example, are waiving the contract contingency for appliances or negotiating a lower price if the appliances are not in working condition rather than demanding new units.

Also to avoid shortage-related delays, buyers may look for the most popular models or for units in stock, avoiding special orders that could add wait times of as much as nine months.

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