Despite Materials Shortages, New Construction is Up

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Census data from last week shows a 12% jump in housing starts in November over October; this occurred amid construction industry struggles such as the labor and materials shortage and all-time highs in construction costs.

Builder Jerry Konter in Georgia cites windows as his problem: “We have a 28-week delay on the windows,” he said. You can’t finish a 250-unit apartment building without windows. “So we are getting to a stage, and then we’re held, you know, at a standstill.”

Even so, construction companies are hiring more employees, and materials eventually reach job sites. As a result, new housing construction may take longer, but new projects start every day; demand drives this growth.

Susan Wachter, professor of real estate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, says, “And there’s a lack of existing homes for sale. So where is the buyer to go but to the new-construction market? So that’s the good news.” The bad news, she says: homebuyers must pick up the tab on added costs for the materials, labor, and shortages.

Amid construction industry struggles with labor and materials shortages, new home building projects continue to increase.

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