Rising Construction Cost and Labor Demand Passed On to North Texas Home Buyers

The president of the Dallas Builders Association says there's a vicious cycle of competition for skilled workers, and it won't end unless vacancies are filled.

"A build cycle is typically six months, now we're at eight months," said Michael Turner, president of the association. "What we're seeing is smaller crews because of the demand on subcontractors."

Turner, who builds custom homes in Dallas, said an aging workforce is close to retirement.

"The average age of an electrician is about 58 years old. The average age of a plumbing contractor is about 58 years old," Turner said. "We're not replacing skilled laborers as fast as we should."

A limited workforce, prices for building materials, and labor rates are driving prices up, the Dallas Builders Association said.

In a recent survey, the DBA found that increased costs and delays attributed to the labor shortage have added more than $4,000 per home in additional costs.

"We're building like crazy out here and still can't keep up with the demand," said Joseph Nixon, a Keller Williams realtor. "When there's high demand for a product, the price naturally rises."

Turner believes vocational training in North Texas schools will help alleviate the labor shortage.

"For those kids where college is not an option or not the direction they want to pursue, I want them to know there's great careers in this industry," Turner said. "We're not trying to sway anybody out of college, but we want to let these people know there are alternatives."

The Dallas Builders Association says it will encourage school districts, including Dallas ISD, to offer more vocational training.

It's a big initiative for the DBA this year, Turner said.

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