Building material prices are also expected to be a significant challenge in 2020, according the National Association of Home Builders.
Cost and availability of labor was the top issue for construction professionals in 2019, and it is expected to remain a top problem in 2020, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). A series of special questions in the December survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauged the top problems for construction professionals in 2019 and expected problems in 2020. Cost and availability of labor topped the list of problems and expected challenges, followed by building material prices.
Cost and availability of labor were a significant issue for 87% of builders last year. In 2020, however, a slightly smaller share—85% of the builders—expect them to continue being a problem. The second most widespread problem in 2019 was building materials cited by 66% of builders. Unlike cost and availability of labor, the share of builders expecting building materials to be a problem this year is the same as share reporting it a problem last year.
In 2011, cost and availability of labor was reported as a significant problem by only 13% of builders. The share increased to 30% in 2012, 53% in 2013, 61% in 2014, 71% in 2015, 78% in 2016, 82% in both 2017 and 2018, before peaking at 87% in 2019. Meanwhile building materials prices was reported as a significant problem by 33% of builders in 2011, followed by 46% in 2012, 68% in 2013, 58% in 2014, 42% in 2015, 48% in 2016 and 77% in 2017, 87% in 2018 and 66% in 2019.