Construction Delays and Rising Prices Plague South Florida Housing Market
Port St. Lucie, Fla. – The demand for new homes and construction projects in south Florida has reached unprecedented levels, causing significant delays and price increases. Construction companies across Palm Beach County, the Treasure Coast, and beyond report struggling with a labor shortage, further exacerbating the situation.
Juan Moya, CEO of Garcia and Sons Construction in Port St. Lucie, knows the challenges of meeting the high demand firsthand. With double-digit numbers of people moving to Port St. Lucie, Moya describes the situation as “crazy.” However, despite the potential for growth, Moya faces the difficulty of finding skilled workers to keep up with the demand. Skilled laborers, in particular, have become scarce, posing a significant hurdle for the construction industry.
Greg Batista, owner of G Batista Engineering and Construction in Fort Lauderdale, echoes Moya’s concerns. Batista emphasizes the impact of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ signing of Senate Bill 1718, which cracks down on businesses that hire undocumented workers. The recent exodus of undocumented workers, who are often involved in roofing, landscaping, and tiling, has resulted in a shortage of workers in these fields. Batista laments the effects on his workforce, acknowledging the challenges faced due to the loss of skilled laborers.
The scarcity of workers compounds the existing shortage of construction materials, creating a perfect storm of delays and escalating costs. Challenges in supply chains and rising material prices have crippled construction projects. Batista shares how this has affected his work, recounting instances where material costs have surged or supply has become insufficient, directly impacting the completion of two large-scale projects. As a result, the Home Builders and Contractors Association of Florida’s Space Coast reports that the time required to build a house has increased from 12 months to 15 months, with new home prices soaring by over 20%.
In response to these challenges, construction companies like Garcia and Sons Construction have been forced to increase their prices to manage the impact of insurance hikes, material inflation, and the need to provide competitive salaries to attract and retain skilled workers. Moya explains that price hikes ranging from 30 to 60% have become necessary to keep up with the changing landscape. Despite the difficulties, Moya and Batista maintain an optimistic outlook. They emphasize the importance of transparency with clients and the reputation they have built as trustworthy contractors, which has helped mitigate some resistance to higher prices. Moya also highlights the positive influence of interest rate hikes, aiding in the control of material inflation and allowing for more stability in pricing.
Although the construction industry in south Florida currently faces significant challenges, Moya and Batista find solace in the fact that the economy and its impact on construction are ever-evolving. They remain committed to delivering quality work and meeting the demands of their clients during these challenging times.