CNBC real estate correspondent Diana Olick reports on analysts' assertions that it's over-regulated and costly home site approval processes holding back housing's recovery far more significantly that labor capacity constraints.
Olick quotes Goldman Sachs analysis that suggests that the labor shortage factor as a suppressor of housing starts growth doesn't wash with data. Department of Labor statistics show healthy increases in construction jobs, while wages have held steady. Considering, however, that starts are running a good third below what they should be, it may be that Goldman analysts are missing something. Olick looks at lots, the costs, the scarcity, and local regulations, code, and permitting as the real rub:
A survey of 100 builders nationwide by John Burns Real Estate Consulting backs that thesis. They asked about costs that didn't exist 10 years ago, and found high levels of builder frustration, not just from labor, but from cost overruns stemming from new regulations for house erosion control, energy codes and fire sprinklers. They also cited understaffed planning and permit offices as well as utility company delays.