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In our new COVID reality, even a rapid economic recovery from a global pandemic has a downside. “A lot of (suppliers) closed down their factories during COVID, and there was talk we’re going into a huge recession,” said Joe Sattler, owner of Sattler Homes & Remodeling. “Then things got really busy.” “It seems that everyone is so busy, which is great,” Kevin McCreedy, co-owner of McCreedy-Ruth Construction, wrote in an email. “That also isn’t great for someone who wants a project done soon. If a customer calls today for a larger project, we are telling them at least a year out.” More building materials and components seemed to work their way through the global trade network this spring. But continued shortages of some supplies – and, more significantly, workers reassessing their goals and opportunities – are this season’s normal for Corridor building trades and would-be customers. “When I started building homes back in the ’80s, we had a production schedule of 66 days, 74 days or 92 days,” said Drew Retz, vice president of Cedar Rapids operations for Jerry's Homes. “Now, I don’t think I can build a home in nine months. We’re losing so much time on-site because we don’t have materials and we’re not sure when they will show up.” Mr. Retz estimated this year’s supply and workforce shortages could add $30,000 to the cost of a typical new home. “We’re trying to be upfront [with customers] with everything,” Mr. Sattler said. “When a job sells or orders are placed, we let them know: ‘We were able to start your project, but instead of a month or two, it may be two, three or four months.’” “People are just going to have to learn to be a little more patient and start planning ahead a lot sooner,” Mr. McCreedy wrote in an email. “Things are going to cost a lot more than things used to, and unfortunately that seems to be the new normal. We see and hear of price increases almost every week.” Neither COVID, workforce adjustments or even a land war in Europe have dampened Eastern Iowans’ demand for new homes or improvements to existing ones. Both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids issued more building permits last year than in 2019. While damage repair from the August 2020 derecho isn’t the factor it was last year, it’s prompting many projects. “I wouldn’t say it’s as nearly a factor as it was in 2021, but you drive around and you still see blue tarps and missing siding,” Mr. Retz said.