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Rebuild efforts dented by labor shortages in Hurricane Harvey aftermath

Texas home rebuilding will take time

The recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey are hitting the same issue that long plagued the Texas housing market: A shortage of construction workers.

Following early concerns from the National Association of Home Builders, rebuilding Texas’ housing market down south, along with the still much-needed new housing inventory in North Dallas, will take time due to a lingering labor shortage and rising lumber prices.  

According to an article from the Star-Telegram by Andrea Ahles, “Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston and Beaumont with floodwaters, is expected to swamp home builders throughout the state as well, including in North Texas.”

From the article:

Now, with months of reconstruction work just starting along the Gulf Coast, it may take even longer for new homes in the Metroplex to go up, experts say.

“There is a labor shortage all around and generally Harvey did not help,” said Scott Jacobsen, purchasing manager at Riverside Home Builders, which builds communities in Fort Worth and Dallas. While his company has contracts in place to keep prices fixed for supplies like lumber, Jacobsen said he wouldn’t be surprised to see overall material prices increase.

The sentiments echo early comments from NAHB’s builder confidence report that said homebuilders are growing less certain after the recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas.

“The recent hurricanes have intensified our members’ concerns about the availability of labor and the cost of building materials,” NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said. “Once the rebuilding process is underway, I expect builder confidence will return to the high levels we saw this spring.”

As an example of the impact, D.R. Horton, a Fort Worth, Texas-based homebuilder, drastically cut its 2017 forecast for cash flow from operations due to delays caused by the recent hurricanes, according to a Reuters article.

“D.R. Horton also said it expected backlog conversion to be about 85% for the current quarter ending Sept. 30. The company had forecast a range of 88% to 90%,” the article stated.

Meanwhile, other numbers have also started to roll in on the impact of Hurricane Harvey as well.

The first numbers from Black Knight Financial Services came in last week, and according to the report, more than 6,700 new 30-day delinquencies can be attributed to Harvey.

And the report stated that the heaviest impact on mortgage delinquency rates hasn’t occurred yet, with the worst part to happen in September.

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