More Hurricane Pain: Fewer Homes, Shortage of Construction Workers

September 28, 2017
Satellite view of a hurricane from space

The home building industry had a labor shortage even before Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck, but the pace of new construction will become even more acute as workers will be busy repairing existing homes.

The storms were responsible for a three-point drop in builder confidence during September as measured by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The pullback in sentiment reflected builders’ concerns about the rising cost for builder materials and labor combined with a shortage of workers and ready-to-build lots.

"Labor shortages have been the story of the construction underperformance for the last three years," said Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson. "A lot of those workers will be diverted to rebuilding and repair, not just the homes, but the infrastructure damaged during the storm. So it is a bleak picture from a new construction point of view."

However, the National Mortgage News story states that a solid job market, and relatively low mortgage rates still bode well for residential real estate in Texas and Florida and those markets are likely to see more activity later this year and early 2018 as rebuilding efforts gain momentum.

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