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Building Material Prices and Availability Top Builders’ List of Challenges

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Building Materials

Building Material Prices and Availability Top Builders’ List of Challenges


February 23, 2021
House framing
Photo: Watercolor_Art_Photo

Building material prices, availability, and time it takes to obtain building materials are the biggest problems builders faced last year, and they expect these issues to continue through this year. According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index December 2020 survey, 96% of builders surveyed said building material prices were the most significant problem of last year while 86% predicted the issue to persist this year. For availability and time to obtain building materials, 78% of builders struggled and 80% expect this issue to carry on. Other key issues facing builders are the cost and availability of labor, concern about employment/economic situation, and the cost/availability of developed lots.

In 2011, building materials prices was reported as a significant problem by 33% of builders, followed by 46% in 2012, 68% in 2013, 58% in 2014, 42% in 2015, 48% in 2016, 77% in 2017, 87% in 2018, and 66% in 2019 before peaking at to 96% in 2020. Meanwhile the cost and availability of labor was reported as a significant problem by only 13% of builders in 2011. The share increased to 30% in 2012, 53% in 2013, 61% in 2014, 71% in 2015, 78% in 2016, 82% in both 2017 and 2018, and increased to 87% in 2019. While 65% said it was problem in 2020, 71% expect it to continue being a problem in 2021.

Concern about employment/economic situation was a problem for only 48% of builders in 2020, but 57% expect it to be a problem in 2021. In 2011, Concern about employment/economic situation was reported as a significant problem by 79% of builders. The share decreased to 71% in 2012, 60% in 2013, 51% in 2014, 47% in 2015, 44% in 2016, 25% in 2017, 28% in 2018, and 25% in 2019.

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