Although the great recession is over, it’s more difficult than ever for U.S. home builders to turn a profit. Home prices are not rising fast enough to cover the cost of constructing a house, which has steadily increased from 53% of sales price in 1995 to 62% in 2013. The cost of construction per square foot is up, too—from $80 per square foot in 2011 to $95 in 2013, according to the NAHB.
Besides rising costs, builders face a host of other issues that impact their bottom lines and the way they build houses. Those armies of laborers who used to populate jobsites are largely gone, leaving a worker shortage in their wake. Building codes are getting tougher, and nascent energy codes promise to make them more so. And in many markets, affordable land in desirable locations seems to be a thing of the past.
With this in mind, here’s a look at building methods that are gaining traction because they save time, money, and headaches—or all of the above—while producing better results and more energy savings. Click on the headlines for more information about each method.