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Hidden cost of housing: How a shortage of construction workers is making our crisis worse

March 11, 2018

By Erin Baldassari : bizjournal – excerpt

As the Bay Area scrambles to find housing for its growing population, developers are running into another kind of shortage: There aren’t enough construction workers to build the homes the region needs.

Builders throughout the area say they are struggling to recruit skilled laborers. Some bring in employees from Southern California or even Seattle, putting them up in hotels. Others hire workers from the Central Valley who spend hours driving to job sites in the wee hours of the morning only to arrive exhausted, forced to squeeze in quick naps before the workday starts.

The challenge of finding workers only exacerbates the Bay Area’s housing shortage. Despite a dramatic increase in permits for residential construction since 2009, construction jobs have increased at less than one tenth the pace of permits. As a result, wages and the overall cost of building are increasing, forcing some developers to delay projects or, in some cases, not build at all…

“An awful lot of guys retired from the industry, and young people aren’t interested in doing this type of work,” said David Lorber, the owner of Superior Bay Builders, a remodeling company. “Nobody is replacing them, and nobody cares.”… (more)

Oops. Contractors and construction workers got pushed out of cities to make room for higher value tenants. Young people are steered into tech careers. Nobody respects blue collar workers and they don’t deserve to live in the city if they can’t afford it. So many left to make room for higher paying tenants.

Now we need them, but, they may not choose to drive long distances to work in cities with terrible traffic, no parking and high bridge tolls when they can work closer to home. Lots of jobs in Sonoma and Napa right now. Be careful what you wish for and who you build for. The world does not run on apps alone and those unintended consequences have a way of sneaking up on you.

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