More than four out of five builders expect to face serious challenges regarding the cost and availability of labor in 2019, according to a recent survey of members that ran in the monthly NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
The questions asked builders about the problems they confronted in 2018 and expect to face in 2019. Topping the list is the cost and availability of labor, a significant issue for 82% of builders in 2018, which ranked as the No. 2 concern behind building material prices. An identical 82% expect labor shortages will be their No. 1 issue in 2019, while material prices fell to the second slot at 69%.
A chronic labor shortage in the housing industry is a problem that has been steadily gaining steam over the past few years. To put it into perspective, just 13% of builders cited labor issues as an important concern in 2011, with the rate steadily rising over the ensuing years and peaking at 82% in each of the last three years (2017-2019).
NAHB economist Ashok Chaluvadi provides more analysis on the labor shortages and the rest of the top 10 list in this recent Eye on Housing blog post