The housing market has been difficult for buyers to navigate over the last few years. Too much demand and too little supply mean some families are purchasing homes sight unseen. Buyers have no leverage because so many people are interested in sellers’ properties.
This hot housing market has created new opportunities for the residential construction industry. Most of these jobs are projected to grow through 2022. However, the available talent for new roles is often lacking. Here’s how residential construction jobs can help with the housing shortage.
What’s Causing the Housing Shortage?
After the housing market crash in 2008, many people stopped investing in houses. Mortgages became unreasonably high, and investors had to pull out of the market to protect themselves. During the next few years, fewer homes were built as people tried to get back on their feet financially.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 seriously exacerbated the housing shortage just 12 years later. Once lockdowns hit, the global supply chain became so disrupted that building materials couldn’t reach their destinations. At the same time, demand increased as families decided to move or renovate their existing homes.
According to U.S. Census data, the number of people moving has decreased over the last few years. However, many who did move went south or left cities for more rural areas. Millennials seem to be the largest age group on the move — they’re nearing their thirties and are ready for homes of their own.
Regardless of how people are moving, there aren’t enough homes available to make it an easy process. It’s been a seller’s market for several years, and the number of people wanting to move still far outweighs the number of houses available. Unless supply can increase to meet demand, this problem will only worsen.
The housing shortage has been further exacerbated by Wall Street investors buying midsize homes and then renting them out. Because housing prices are so high right now, many families interested in purchasing a residence can’t afford one. Renting isn’t ideal because it doesn’t allow families to build equity in a property they own.
Why Aren’t People Working in Construction?
Although the housing shortage has many causes, getting more people into construction would improve the situation. Unfortunately, the number of workers in this industry has dwindled steadily over the past few decades. There are several reasons why America doesn’t have enough construction workers to meet demand.
For one thing, cultural shifts have made going into the trades seem undesirable. In the 1950s, hands-on work was encouraged. Today, American society perceives blue-collar work as subpar. Most young people are encouraged to go to college — whether or not they have a plan for their degree.
Construction professionals point out that people can make good money and avoid debt by working in the trades. However, worker compensation often depends on which company employees work for or how experienced they are. Construction work is also very physically demanding. Other industries, like retail and restaurants, can offer entry-level wages for work that requires less physical effort. People who choose construction tend to enjoy physical labor. However, health issues may eventually cause them to leave the sector and pursue something less challenging.
How Can We Solve the Construction Crisis?
The simplest solution for solving the housing shortage is to build more houses. More supply available will lead to decreased prices, and more families will have the opportunity to become homeowners. However, the construction industry needs more workers before it can do this.
Many construction workers start young because of connections or experience in the industry. Schools can help their students explore these hands-on professions with programs that explain more about career options. Changing the narrative about the sector would help more people see value in this vocation and treat workers with more respect.
High school projects, workshops and early apprenticeship programs can help students decide if this is a good route. Connecting young people with experienced professionals could also let them consider construction as a future career. The more understood and valued construction roles are, the more new workers will want to join the industry.
People who can’t find a new house should consider hiring construction workers to renovate the place they already live. Run-down properties can be completely transformed if families are willing to invest time and money into the project. Restoring value is a great way to beat the housing market and create a home that families love.
What Types of Construction Jobs Are Needed?
There are many opportunities in the construction industry right now, partly because of the housing shortage. Careers expected to grow in 2022 include electricians, plumbers, carpenters, glaziers, steelworkers and more. Most of these roles have a good median salary with room to grow.
Many construction workers join a company to gain experience and start their own business. While some professionals prefer working as part of a group, others enjoy being a contractor and setting their own hours. Entry-level requirements for this industry depend on which kind of work people are interested in.
Each type of position has different requirements, which can vary by state. Most skilled roles require people to complete an apprenticeship or training program. Some also require professionals to pass a licensing exam before being qualified to work independently. However, some roles are more accessible because they require little to no experience or training.
Construction can be an excellent career path for professionals do their research, find the right path and work with a reputable company. Many people also succeed as contractors after gaining experience on the job for several years. Young people who are self-motivated and committed to excellence can forge their own paths in this industry.
Supporting American Families
The construction industry is essential for running the country. Without these professionals, there would be no homes, storefronts, office buildings or restaurants. Every inviting space that houses a family or supports a business is built by the people in this sector.
The housing shortage would be improved if more talent committed to the construction industry. For that to happen, cultural norms about construction professionals need to shift. People in the construction industry can make good money while gaining marketable skills. Investing in the construction industry is an investment in American families.