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Special Report

Housing Research Brief

June 2021

Surging Prices, Supply Shortages Have Impacts Beyond Housing Segment

Restrained stock and rising costs pose challenges for developers. Over the past year, a lack of available building materials and skilled labor contributed to sizable surge in prices and delayed or canceled the completion of some residential and commercial real estate projects. Year over year, the cost of lumber has jumped 90 percent and steel prices rose 67 percent, while gypsum used to make drywall is up 12 percent and concrete rose 3 percent. Labor costs are also escalating. Hiring in the construction sector as of April was within 3 percent of the pre-pandemic level. This is creating a shortage of skilled laborers in some areas of the county and pushing wages up. Meanwhile, the historically low cost of financing, increased level of savings, and the need for more people to work and school online has generated demand for home remodeling and larger residences. The surge in home improvement and new construction has increased the demand for building supplies while many factories that supply these materials were working at diminish capacity, disrupting supply chains.

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