Top Builder Challenges

Builders surveyed in January 2015 ranked the most significant problems expected to face the industry in 2015. Topping the list was the Cost/Availability of Labor, an issue which has increased in importance the past two years. In 2013, 53% of builders rated Labor as a significant problem, followed by 61% in 2014 and 68% in 2015. This trend suggests an improving housing market, with an expected skilled labor shortage constraining that recovery.

Building Material Prices ranked second, with 66% of builders of the opinion that it is expected to be a significant problem in 2015. In 2013, 68% of builders rated Building Materials as a significant problem, but that share decreased to 58% in 2014. Stable framing lumber and OSB prices in 2014 reflected a somewhat disappointing year for housing production. Stronger demand in 2015, coupled with low mortgage rates and improving credit conditions, suggest renewed pressure for higher building material prices. Top Builder Challenges 1

The Regulation of Banking/financial institutions is expected to remain a significant problem for builders in 2015. In 2013, bank regulation was rated a significant problem by 63% of responding builders, falling slightly to 62% of builders in 2014 and then 61% of builders in 2015.

The Cost/Availability of Developed Lots is expected to be increasingly significant. In 2013, the Cost/Availability of Lots was rated significant by 46% of responding builders. That share increased to 55% in 2014 and again to 57% for 2015. Both the Availability of Labor and Lots highlight the expected constraints of a recovering housing market.

It is harder to explain the builder ratings for Concern about the Employment/economic situation. Rated a significant problem by 60% of reporting builders in 2013, the issue dropped in significance to 51% in 2014, only to increase to 54% for 2015. Employment increased in significance as an issue despite the economy adding three-quarters of a million new jobs over the three month period prior to the survey. Top Builder Challenges2  



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