Modular construction may be key to relieving housing crunch

May be only way to meet needs as ranks of construction workers decline.

June 28, 2018 |
Construction at sunset

The housing shortage in some parts of the country has gotten so acute that a new approach such as modular construction may be the only way to alleviate the problem.

The recession of the late 2000s caused many builders to close shop and the industry still hasn’t fully recovered. Today new apartment and housing construction sits at a little over half the pace of the 2006 peak.

The number of residential construction workers is down 23% from 2006. Skilled trades like plumbers, carpenters, and electricians are down close to 17%. As a result, labor costs have risen about 5% a year for the past three years.

Prefabrication, which is a more efficient way to build, may be the best hope to quickly build affordable housing, some industry insiders believe. Newer companies constructing housing using prefab techniques are focusing on condominiums and apartments today.

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