Homes in Denver now take two months longer to build due to the slim workforce
Many of the biggest woes of the housing industry stem from the construction labor shortage.
CNBC reports that the lack of available skilled workers has pumped up the housing backlog and has made homes more expensive.
In Denver, homes take two months longer to complete, and builders are paying workers double their wages to keep them on board. The city usually sells 15,000 homes per year, but current production is at half that pace. Prices in Denver have risen faster than most other markets in the nation.
CNBC reports that the energy sector lured many construction workers during the recession. The average construction worker is now 42 years old, and many younger Americans are headed to college for white collar jobs. Immigrants make up a quarter of the construction workforce.
Wages in the residential building industry are growing at twice the rate of wages in the overall economy. Labor is the top concern among the nation's builders, according to an NAHB survey, and worry over its cost and availability is growing.