The dust is finally beginning to settle from the midterm elections and the impact is becoming more apparent. The anticipated GOP wave never materialized, and the electorate is split down the middle. A few weeks after voting concluded, vote tallies finally confirmed Republicans had reclaimed a narrow majority in the House of Representatives while Democrats retained the Senate by a razor-thin margin.
It’s clear any legislation with a prayer of being signed into law by President Biden must be bipartisan. While the next speaker of the House can likely wrangle the 218 votes needed to move legislation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) does not have the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. So the parties will need to negotiate and compromise to move key legislation forward in the next Congress, including housing legislation.
- Home Affordability Report Shows Increased Pressure for Affordable Housing
- Working to Improve Access to Affordable Housing
- Midterm Election Results Will Affect the Housing Market in More Ways Than One
Fortunately, housing is a bipartisan concern, and the housing affordability crisis in America has become a top-tier political issue. As the Federal Reserve continues to tighten monetary policy and the housing sector faces a recession, Congress and the administration must turn their focus to policies that lower the cost of building and allow the nation’s home builders to expand housing production.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is ready to work with the new Congress to propose bipartisan solutions that can create more affordable, attainable housing. To see NAHB’s election summary, which offers a look at the potential leadership of key congressional committees and how the various possibilities may affect the housing agenda, go to the “Election 2022” overview at nahb.org/vote.
Labor Shortage for Residential Construction Industry Continues
The labor shortage in residential construction persists, despite rising interest rates that have slowed the housing market.
The count of open construction jobs (residential and nonresidential) increased to 422,000 in September from 386,000 the month before, and is far higher than the estimated number of openings a year ago (348,000). Meanwhile, the number of quits in construction in September (152,000) was lower relative to the same measure a year ago (188,000), meaning fewer workers are leaving the industry or finding other jobs within it.
While higher interest rates are having an impact on the demand-side of the real economy, the ultimate solution for the labor shortage will not be found by slowing demand, but by recruiting, training, and retaining skilled workers. Attracting skilled labor will remain a key objective for construction firms in the coming years. And while a slowing housing market will take some pressure off tight labor markets, the long-term labor challenge will persist beyond the current macro slowdown.