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Survey says construction can't keep pace with pandemic home-buying boom

Newn Home Construction
Posted at 10:35 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 23:32:02-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A new survey from the Associated General Contractors of America showed just how tough it's been for the construction industry during the pandemic and the associated real estate boom.

"It's definitely very difficult to build in 2021. That's for sure," Brandon Lanci said.

Lanci owns Milana Homes, a luxury custom home builder. Our ABC Action News crew visited him at a worksite in Tampa where he's currently building two homes and has built others on the same block. He said the pandemic has brought about several challenges for contractors to stay afloat.

"It is extremely hard to do our job at this stage in the game," Lanci said. "The lack of materials is really, really, really hurting us."

Survey results from the AGC of America show nearly 9 out of 10 firms said they're experiencing project delays. Three-fourths of respondents blame it on material shortages while nearly 60 percent blame it on delivery delays.

"If you dig footers, you should be ordering trusses and trusses will be delivered in about four weeks. Now you're talking five months," Lanci said. "So you have to change your entire schedule and order everything early."

Lanci said it used to take his crews about eight months to build a custom home. Now, that timeline has been pushed anywhere from 12 to 14 months. That same survey showed there's also a labor issue. In Florida, 94% of firms said they're having a tough time filling craft positions, those include workers like tile setters and cabinet installers.

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"My trim carpenter makes 200 grand a year," he said. "These guys are a dying breed. They're retiring."

Lanci said between the cost of materials and labor, it's driving up home prices. Eighty-one percent of Florida contracting firms who responded to the survey said they're passing some, if not all, of the additional costs to customers. Lanci said families who could afford million-dollar homes are getting priced out.

"You realize who makes the world go round in global pandemics, I guess," Lanci said. "You realize that it's not guys like me. It's really the guys who are on the front of the line is actually doing the work," he said.

You can read the entire survey summary and see the results here.