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M R EP O RT | 17 COVER STORY seem to believe that it will take the rest of 2022, and perhaps the early part of 2023 before most of the problems we're seeing today will be under control," Sharga said. "But it's possible—maybe even likely—that some parts of the supply chain will recover more quickly than others, and home builders seem to be having fewer issues overall than they did last year (although they still site delays with windows, engineered wood products, and lumber)." Kushi added, "It's difficult to pre- dict when supply chain disruptions may resolve, particularly because supply chains are so interconnect- ed. Labor shortages may ease in some industries, as some workers are enticed by higher wages, but transportation logjams and material shortages may take time to clear up. It's unlikely that bottlenecks will dissipate in 2022, but issues may begin to ease in 2023." And will a lasting impact be left on the industry after having been forced to deal with these supply chain concerns? "My feeling is that the impact has been so deep, and the disrup- tions so pronounced that we won't see a return to the pre-pan- demic infrastructure, such as it was," Maynell said. "Supply chain leaders are already making per- manent changes to build in more flexibility to protect against simi- lar future events. All of this may very well be transparent to the consumer, so from their perspec- tive, once the disturbances subside and the global market is thrum- ming with re-engineered supply chains (this will take the better part of a decade or longer), they may very well experience what feels like a return to normal." Stone feels that after experi- encing this hiccup, things will eventually improve, and a more stable and efficient process will rise as a result. "One interesting statistic is that $25 billion was invested in supply chain technology last year," Stone said. "Forty percent of everything manufactured worldwide is man- ufactured by U.S. corporations, half of which is manufactured off- shore. For this reason, every U.S. corporation out there is investing in supply chain technology and trying to make their supply chain work more durable and sustain- able. I think the net result of all this is, five years from now, we'll have a much more efficient supply chain, and we'll probably have a much more consistent pricing regime because of it." A Side Note O ne random post-holiday evening in January, I was in my local big box store grabbing a few items. There in a shopping cart, sat the Holy Grail of video next-generation gaming systems I had scoured the retail stores and online world for over a year. It was at customer service and my initial thoughts were that it was a throw- back because I had never seen one "in the wild," and it was damaged. But when I questioned the clerk, she said it was headed out to the electronics department for the display case to be sold. Let's just say it didn't make it to that display case and my hunt was over. A happy ending in this household. Will the housing market end with similar success? And will today's homebuyer, restricted to a minimal number of offerings as the market works feverishly to rebuild its supply and align the links in the supply chain, exercise patience and persistence? As 2022 faces rising rates, many prospective buyers are growing bored and tired of the waiting game. Once-desirable rates are pushing upward, bordering in the 4% pre-pandemic range, thus forcing many to reconsider the strategy of landing the home of their dreams as the shelves of inventory are restocked over the next 24 months. Will American homebuy- ers find a happy ending to their story? That remains to be seen. ERIC C. PECK is Five Star's Managing Digital Editor. He has 20-plus years' experience covering the mortgage industry; he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in communication arts/media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for "The supply chain disruptions have also negatively impacted existing homeowners, who are struggling to find materials necessary for renovations and appliances that need replacement." —Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American "The construction worker shortage has reached crisis level. The situation will become more challenging in the coming year when other industries rebound and offer competitive wages and benefits to prospective employees." —Ed Brady, President and CEO, Home Builders Institute (HBI)

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