Tariffs, labor shortages drive up home costs


Home building and remodeling costs could rise this year, driven by the dual impact of tariffs and labor shortages.

A report from Porch, a company that connects consumers to home improvement professionals, suggests that tariffs on Canadian lumber, Chinese goods, and internationally sourced metals could drive up the price of new construction by 3.2 percent.

The median sale price of $315,000 for new houses means that a 3.2 percent increase would add about $10,000 to the initial cost of a home. Because an increase in purchase price drives up the cost of required down payments and interest, homeowners could pay an extra $17,000 over the life of their mortgage, the Porch report suggests.

Homeowners with plans to remodel could expect similar increases, with some projects, such as flooring, seeing as much as a 15-percent price increase.

Meanwhile, 79 percent of construction firms plan to expand headcount to keep pace with demand this year, according to a survey from the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate. Yet almost the same number of firms (78 percent) say they’re having a hard time filling positions.

Construction companies are raising pay in order to attract more workers. Nearly six in 10 survey respondents said they had increased base pay, 29 percent had provided new incentives or bonuses and nearly one-quarter improved employee benefits.

Labor shortages among homebuilders are restricting new housing supply, leading to higher home price appreciation in many areas of the country.

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