Hurricane Florence Takes Center Stage at North Carolina Builder Gathering

(Bloomberg) -- The North Carolina Home Builders Association’s three-day conference has just gotten under way, but as Hurricane Florence bears down, some of the 2,000 attendees are leaving early to prepare for the worst.

With the storm expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday, “everybody is looking over their shoulder at what’s happening with the weather,” Alan Banks, president of the organization, said in a phone interview from the conference in Charlotte. Builders in the Raleigh-Durham region have about 7,500 new homes in their inventory, and about 600 are under construction in coastal Wilmington, data from Metrostudy show.

Steve Leach, Eastwood Homes’ division president for the area including Raleigh, said crews are out securing anything that could move on sites where about 90 homes are being built. The storm will probably delay construction for three to five days, depending on its severity. But in the longer term, workers and supplies will have to be diverted to repair existing homes.

“We will see a spike in costs,” Leach said. “Materials will become hard to come by.”

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