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Industry Snapshot: Labor Costs, Homeowner Tenure and YIMBY

July 30, 2019

Industry Snapshot: Labor Costs, Homeowner Tenure and YIMBY

Industry Snapshot is our monthly round-up of top news stories related to the residential home building industry.

In July, housing affordability and shortages were at the forefront again as Oregon moves forward on its bill to ban single-family-only zoning and the YIMBY, or “Yes in My Backyard,” movement becomes a talking point for presidential candidates. A new analysis is also confirming that the construction industry pays higher than the average private sector hourly wage.

YIMBY policies become talking points for candidates. The “Yes in My Backyard” movement can add Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker to its ranks. Both democratic candidates have plans to force local governments into zoning reform by offering or withholding money from federal housing and transportation funds. [Curbed]

Construction firms pay more for skilled workers. A new analysis from the Associated General Contractors of America found that construction firms have to pay higher wages to attract skilled workers from a shrinking labor pool. Average hourly earnings increased to $30.73, which is 10 percent higher than the private-sector average of $27.90. [Construction Dive]

Chicago among top cities for apartment construction costs. Chicago, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio, came out on top in a look at cost per square feet for constructing apartments in 10 cities with the highest search volume on apartments.com. In Chicago, a 1-3 story apartment costs $266.80 per square feet. In Seattle, it’s $226.91 and in Columbus, Ohio, it’s $192.27. [Building Design+Construction]

Average homeowner tenure reaches record high. American homeowners are staying put at record lengths, with average tenure reaching 8.09 years. For comparison, the average tenure in the years leading up to the recession, 2001-07, averaged just 4.21 years. Experts believe the longer tenures are linked to high home prices. [Housing Wire]

Oregon close to banning single-family-only zoning. We shared this New York Times article last month on how states are starting to reconsider zoning exclusively for single-family homes. Now, Oregon is set to be the first state to ban single-family-only zoning. Redfin estimates that measure could nearly triple for-sale housing in the Portland market. [Housing Wire]

All-white bathrooms are still a staple. As one designer puts it, “A bathroom is filled with rituals – you establish your routine in this room and a white or extremely neutral palette allows for you to just concentrate on the rituals. It feels like a blank slate with which you can start fresh.” White tiles also contribute to a feeling of cleanliness that homeowners find refreshing. [Lonny]

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