Construction Labor Shortage Is Depleting Housing Availability

  • 3 min read

For a couple of years, we’ve talked about the lack of skilled tradespeople and employees in the construction industry. Well, that’s now starting to show up in the housing market, as we’ve talked about before. Here’s an article from the state of Oregon where one of the largest factors in getting more housing and lowering the cost of new homes and also getting more homes for people to solve homelessness is workers, headline workers needed to close the housing gap. And sure there were factors of supply chain issues and lumber prices and all the other factors but many of those have been resolved supply chain is getting better. Lumber prices are way down, but there’s still a housing shortage which is worse today than it was before the start of the pandemic. The economist for the state of Oregon was talking about ways to solve this problem and some of the methods that could be used were increasing land availability, turning land into buildable lots allowing more units per lot, and stabilizing development costs but he focused on another issue increasing the construction workforce. If we want to build more units we have to have more workers, that was the headline. From his talk and it’s really under-appreciated how much this factor goes into getting new construction done. Right now you can get lumber, there’s land available. However having the workforce to construct the homes, do the subcontracting, and all the installation of mechanical systems, there are not enough skilled tradespeople out there. Developers and contractors in construction companies are having a tough time filling roles. There are not enough skilled tradespeople out there. Look if you’re a developer contractor put your message below and tell us what you’re running into for getting good help. We see ads all the time for construction labor whether it’s basic hourly labor all the way up to skilled tradespeople, you know paying 30 40 $50 an hour. We’ve seen some of the skilled trades in the 60 or $70 an-hour range and there are not enough workers to go around. Sometimes the problem is the workers that do show up, show up for a day or two, and then disappear after they get a couple of days’ paycheck, according to this article. Just in the state of Oregon, needs 13,000 more construction workers per year to close the gap. That’s a lot of people. Right. In two or three years, that’s you know 50,000 people that you have to come up with to build these homes and the number of new homes needed is getting direr every year. As it says the number of households in Oregon increased from 2019 to 21, and people broke out on their own. They got rid of roommates, they wanted more space and they don’t want to be jammed in together when there was a pandemic. And now that people have done that they realized the benefits of having more space and having your own home. So labor force is a big problem. It’s off often not talked about as much as some of the other factors permitting the cost of lumber cost and materials. But the labor force is something that’s been lurking for many years. It’s chronic. And now it’s starting to rear its head as a major factor in both the price of homes that are available but also the number and availability of new inventory.

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