The labor shortages in Dallas-Fort Worth's construction industry has added at least $4,000 to the cost of buying a home at a time when builders say they can't keep up with the region's demand for housing. North Texas' labor market has yet to recover from the recession that drove nearly 30 percent of construction workers into new field, especially skilled labor, said Phil Crone, the executive officer of the Dallas Builders Association. "I'm worried that the Metroplex is in danger of losing the affordability advantages that have been a major factor for our prosperity," Crone said. "Low supply and high demand for labor, combined with increasing local regulations, are the reasons why prices are at record highs." The Dallas Builders Association, with the help of Meyers Research, recently conducted a builder's sentiment survey to gauge the issues facing the industry. Builders say labor costs have more than doubled in the last 18 months to 24 months and there's fewer workers to go around. "I still get workers, but instead of 12 guys on a framing crew, I get four," one builder responded in the survey. "I need six trim carpenters, but I'm lucky to get two. They work hard, but it is impossible for them to finish on time." About half of the builders surveyed say the labor shortages have added two months or more to a project and the frustration is heightened with the existing workforce beginning to hit retirement age. Thousands of skilled workers are expected to retire in the next decade, with the average age of a carpenter and plumber being 49 and 56, respectively. Crone and the Dallas Builders Association plans to turn to local school districts to help add or expand trade classes offered to students. Not only are labor shortages adding costs to building a home, but also most builders surveyed also say price increases for concrete have significantly impacted their businesses. For every $1,000 of added cost to the price of a home, Crone said it prices about 20,000 families out of the market. "This has the biggest impact on the entry level home buyer," he said.
- Dallas Business Journal, October 5, 2016