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From The Atlantic:

America’s Housing Crisis Could Imperil Trump’s Presidency

Many of the administration’s most famous policies are impediments to affordable construction.

JAN 10, 2019, Derek Thompson

Donald Trump is right that the United States desperately needs more walls. He’s just wrong about their ideal dimension, purpose, and location. The U.S. need not spend tens of billions of dollars on a single barrier extending along the southern border between the United States and Mexico. Rather, what the suddenly wobbly U.S. economy could really use is millions of walls at 90-degree angles. I mean lots and lots of housing. …

But one nationwide impediment to more housing is a shortage of construction labor; young Americans don’t seem remotely interested in becoming cement masons or carpenters. That means the housing industry would vastly benefit from an influx of immigrants—precisely the thing Trump wants to stop at all costs with a giant border wall.

“It’s blatantly obvious that we have to find a labor supply to meet demand, or everybody is gonna pay a price,” said Phil Crone, the executive officer of the Dallas Builders Association.

And if you can’t trust a Builders Association to be disinterested, who can you trust?

Commenter Lot says:

Construction labor costs for new single family housing in California cities is maybe 5% of the total cost. Land is 50-80%, then there is regulatory/permit costs, finance costs, and materials.

To put it another way, if labor costs fell in half due to a new illegal migrant wave, prices would fall maybe 2.5%.

Is it really that low? Are a lot of construction costs these days at the factory end rather than on-site?

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  1. MBlanc46 says:

    Not enough people cr*pping in the streets of SF, apparently.

  2. Sean says:

    Falling instead of rising house prices would be a consequence of halting mass immigration.

    • Agree: Endgame Napoleon
    • Replies: @Cortes
  3. J.Ross says: • Website

    The other day we had the mystery of white working class people not wanting to get knifed in a jobless ghetto. Today our self-appointed betters arrive at the conclusion that the one thing America needs is more housing, because we haven’t literally had blocks of surplus housing going to nobody for years now. Tomorrow: double glazed glass, an important and hitherto wasted source of dietary fiber.

    • Replies: @bomag
  4. “Everybody is gonna pay a price.” Rem acu tetigisti.

    • Agree: Autochthon
  5. istevefan says:

    young Americans don’t seem remotely interested in becoming cement masons or carpenters.

    Maybe they would if the monetary award were there. Maybe they would invest the time it takes to become a master bricklayer or carpenter if they were confident five years down the road their job would not be given to a coolie at half the cost.

    Americans will do ANYTHING if the price is right. ANYTHING.

    Immigrants already account for roughly 25 percent of construction jobs nationwide.

    Which means that Americans provide 75% of the construction labor, which contradicts your original claim that Americans are not interested in becoming cement masons or carpenters.

    “It’s blatantly obvious that we have to find a labor supply to meet demand, or everybody is gonna pay a price,”

    Isn’t that how the free market is supposed to work?

  6. Would it not make more sense to automate construction? I saw a graph about a year ago that should continuous improvement in productivity in manufacturing over the past 40 years as measured by value added per worker. The graph for construction was a flat-line, indicating no improvement in productivity over the same time period.

    It looks like the construction industry is ripe for disruptive technological innovation.

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @TomSchmidt
    , @bomag
  7. Oldgit says:

    Is that a typo in the last line, or have I had one scotch too many?

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  8. But one nationwide impediment to more housing is a shortage of construction labor; young Americans don’t seem remotely interested in becoming cement masons or carpenters

    Lie. Most 18-year-olds mindlessly send out applications to universities and aren’t aware of free apprenticeships in building trades run by their states. I sure wasn’t when I was 18. That higher ed propaganda machine is pretty formidable.

    That means the housing industry would vastly benefit from an influx of immigrants

    Right, because only Mexicans and Poles can pour concrete and construct a header.

    There’s a saying among builders, “Mexican basement.” It’s a shitty basement done on the cheap. You’re better off giving it a go yourself. Mexican work is substandard. And in another 25 years, most homes will be built by robots mixing cement and laying brick.

    • Replies: @Anonymouse
    , @EliteCommInc.
  9. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    The U.S. economy is “suddenly wobbly” but there’s a labor shortage?

  10. Dtbb says:

    I guarantee ICE could go to any construction site in Florida and find 50 illegals if they could corral the fleeing cockroaches when the light was turned on. Everybody knows it but won’t do it. Protestors often place warnings on the bullentin boards that “La migra” will show up on such and such date. The jobsite is a ghost town. Yes it would be a strain for a while to replace these guys who are decent hard workers, but it could be done. We need apprentice and training programs desperately in this country. Hey ICE here’s a clue; look for the cranes, they’re easy to spot.

  11. How about this: we share the houses of all the people who want open borders. Let’s start with the rich black athletes who own numerous homes in gated white neighborhoods. These homes are huge..thousands and thousands of feet. Let’s give them some diversity. How could these people complain since they want this diversity. Next the super rich Jews like Bloomberg who owns basically islands of homes. Since Jews are the leading proponents of this magic immigration I’m sure they will welcome this change in their life style. Next, the Hollywood crowd who basically are in a suicidal state because Trump is trying stop this invasion. We can start with Malibu which is around 97.6 percent white. Surely we can’t have this. We can lower this number to around 40 percent by mass migration to this area. Oh what wonderful diverse picnics they can all have.

    Now for the super rich politicians and the rest of the genius set. Let’s start with the Hamptons. This area could easily hold 200,000 of these wonderful people including some nice MS-13 groups who seem to like these areas. Now for the political puppies. I think that George Bush’s ranch could probably house at least 1,000,000 wonderful migrants. They wouldn’t need to walk very far and they just love the climate at the ranch. In fact, Bush and his wife both speak Spanish. Now that’s just the beginning. This is called efficiency which the Democrats are always for.

    I solved the problem and we didn’t hardly waste any money! How about Niteranger for President.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    , @ATBOTL
  12. Anonymous[396] • Disclaimer says:

    The other possibility that never seems to get mentioned is that if labour is too expensive, the construction industry could invest in R&D to find more efficient ways of building. You know, build a better mousetrap(or at the very least a cheaper one).

  13. Lies. The article was a mass of lies.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  14. @Oldgit

    Is that a typo in the last line, or have I had one scotch too many?

    Without even looking, I’m going to say “typo” because I happen to know there’s no such thing as “one scotch too many.” OTOH, I do know that two or three too many can interfere with locomotion.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  15. Ah, the Republican Preaident’s “homelessness crisis” has arrived on cue.

  16. Oh, great. More endless faceless suburbs eating up the countryside and gridlocking country roads. Can’t wait.

    And I assure you there are millions of native-born, experienced construction workers eager as hell to work.

    The problem is, not at the pay-rates they can get away with ripping off illegal Mexicans with.

  17. @Bragadocious

    >Mexican work is substandard.

    There’s a disconnect here. I suspect that the work quality of small-scale contractors is consistently bad whatever their eth. Cutting corners is their MO. On the other hand, competently supervised Mexican construction workers seem to do top-notch work. Here in Austin TX there is an enormous building boom going on, high-rises from 10 to 50+ stories are being built everywhere in downtown. Almost all the workers are Hispanic immigrants presumably undocumented, mostly small guys with no English. I also have noticed a very small number of white and black Americans working alongside them.

  18. Ahh yes, the prototypical job American won’t do: running your own independent contracting firm.

  19. Lot says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    This is happening with modular housing to some extent. Though it is mainly popular because it is faster, not cheaper.

    Construction labor costs for new single family housing in California cities is maybe 5% of the total cost. Land is 50-80%, then there is regulatory/permit costs, finance costs, and materials.

    To put it another way, if labor costs fell in half due to a new illegal migrant wave, prices would fall maybe 2.5%.

    • Replies: @Abelard Lindsey
    , @David
  20. J.Ross says: • Website

    There of course exist top level craftsmen of proud Mexican ancestry but so to speak the Mexicans we’re talking about — undocumented Central American globalist unskilled temps (who often aren’t Mexican) — have no business on any site.
    Speaking of wandering temps, Trump has given more reason to love him:
    Tech trusts are whining that, without temporarily exploited, underpaid harijans who are routinely described outside the mainstream media as unable to deliver their promised skills, the datas will be rotting in the wired like empty Californian mcmansions.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
    , @Jack D
  21. Rather, what the suddenly wobbly U.S. economy could really use is millions of walls at 90-degree angles. I mean lots and lots of housing…

    Because 332,000,000 just isn’t quite there yet.

    …young Americans don’t seem remotely interested in becoming cement masons or carpenters.

    Not at minimum wage, no.

    Many of the administration’s most famous policies are impediments to affordable construction.

    Affordable construction like these:

    • Replies: @Jack D
  22. Rather than increasing the supply of housing via employment of illegals, why not reduce the demand?

    Rent a few buses or trucks, round up as many “homeless” in San Francisco or other cities as you can cram on, and start a caravan of poor oppressed people fleeing the heartless and racist Amerika into the welcoming arms of Mexico. Teach them on the way how to apply for refugee status in Mexico. Cameras will of course be documenting every inch of travel on their search for a better life.

    If Mexico is unfortunately full, either have the women and children storm the border, or perhaps just turn around and head for Canada. Make impassioned comparisons to the Underground Railroad. Teach the caravan on the way the rules of hockey, to help them prepare for their new lives free of Amerikan oppression.

    I can’t be the first person to think of this, but I haven’t seen it anywhere in the limited places online that I frequent. But I’m worried when even I can’t tell if I’m making a joke or a serious proposal.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @Macumazahn
  23. DFH says:

    So America needs immigrants to build more houses for immigrants to live in

    • LOL: Rosie
  24. Anonymous[141] • Disclaimer says:

    With all the ballyhoo on this site lately about ‘IQ’ tests, and whether they have any utility – THIS story makes for a very very good practical -and not contrived as in those Raven matrix thingies – IQ test for the general reader, if not journalists and editors.

    On the face of it, it appears plausible that a ‘shortage’ of construction workers means less optimum construction, and thus with all else being equal, a ‘shortage’ of houses and therefore a rise in ‘homelessness’ .
    But, only a few moments’ contemplation leads us to remember that imported construction workers – and the families which they import – ‘need accommodation too’, thus depleting the housing stock they might have helped build. Also, an increase in employment in the industries ancillary to construction – lumber, cement, steel, glass, plant, machinery etc – can only serve to ‘draw off’ labor from the actual construction sector – likewise the ‘boom’ in the useless ‘service’ sector caused by construction worker pay – likewise the flood of immigrants those dummies at The Economist *demand* to fill those service jobs. And so ad finitum.

    The only ‘solution’ to this particular ‘Malthusian trap’ is a cut off in low productivity immigration and innovation in construction methods with the ideal of saving labor.

  25. Trevor H. says:

    Yep. Contractors like the extremely low pay they can get away with for latino immigrants. The fact that most are unskilled doesn’t matter so much when all of your competitors are doing the same thing.

    PS: What on earth is a “cement mason”?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Anon
    , @Dtbb
    , @p s c
  26. @istevefan

    No mention of a supply of employers to meet the demand for wages.

    This reasoning is exactly that of the boor who beats his wife because she doesn’t make his sandwiches well enough; no acknowledgment (I won’t write “self-awareness,” because this prick from Dallas knows damned good and well what his game is) that a cherished and respected wife will almost always be happy to make one Hell of a ham sandwich for a loving husband.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  27. @niteranger

    ¿Puede Bush realmente hablar español? ¿En serio? A mi me parece que su habilidad en español esta más o menos del nivel de, por ejemplo, Peggy Hill. Tal vez eso es solo por causa de él no esta buen orador en publico, pero de verdad puede hablar mejor informalmente cuando no esta nervioso o algo así.

  28. Or maybe, radical thought here, companies could begin relocating their operations, or a portion of them, to areas outside of the 20 most expensive housing markets.
    Oh, and build a bunch of housing fast, weren’t we doing that 2002-2007? How’d that turn out?

    • Replies: @George Wallace
  29. Arclight says:

    The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough potential labor for construction, it’s that Americans (white, black, whatever) don’t want to frame, hang drywall, paint, etc. at the price that immigrant labor will. Even in cheaper midwestern states, native born laborers expect $13-$18 an hour to do the less skilled work in construction, and the foreman of a crew of illegals can bid it at $10 an hour (and will pocket a cut of his crew’s money since most of them are illegals and can’t say jack about it). If you are talking about an ordinary garden apartment development with 200-300 units or new entry level single family development, this adds up to significant savings for the developer.

    The influx of immigrant labor has made the black construction worker essentially extinct and whites a distinct minority except for more skilled work like electrician or plumber. People like Derek Thompson get the cause and effect wrong, not to mention miss the fact that part of the reason we don’t have enough housing in a lot of places – like California – is directly due to the massive influx of immigrants over the last 35 years.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  30. @Anonymouse

    Mestizo campesinos aren’t doing anything but labor for concrete and drywall. Who do you think does electrical, plumbing, structural iron work, bricklaying, etc. etc.? Thinking of them poring over the NEC or IPC creates giggly cognitive dissonance.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  31. JimB says:

    Only a white supremicist would agitate for lower rents in San Francisco. That would lead to white couples making more white babies, who would grow up to economically displace Asian and Mexican immigrants.

  32. anon[393] • Disclaimer says:

    first they came for the construction unions and since i wasnt a steamfitter i said nothing

  33. @Bragadocious

    Having dabbled in construction, I can say without a doubt that the field was once a great way to earn a a few dollars when school was out.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  34. @Arclight

    I think this sentiment is accurate.

  35. “Is it really that low? Are a lot of construction costs these days at the factory end rather than on-site?”

    Labor costs are more than 5%. For example, I got some estimates a few years back on having an addition put on my deck. the deck was about 350 SF, rectangular, southern pine meaning nothing special. Estimates were averaged $8500.

    I did it myself and it cost of materials was less than $1900.

    Another example is my father in law bought a quarter acre of undeveloped property on the west cost (of Michigan) about 12 years ago for 30k. It was in the middle of a neighborhood where houses were selling between 2-300k. The houses were 3-4 bedroom and 2-3 bath.

    Most new home construction in the Chicago area is now modular. Meaning sections of the home are pre-built in a mill or factory (some job sites erect a temporary mill on site to pre fab the sections of house) and then transported to the site and set into place with a crane. I imagine this process reduces cost but also protects the framing of the home from weather before it can be weatherproofed., reduces waste, and provides a more efficient work space.

    Large warehouses are also pre fabbed with the large rectangular, concrete sections of wall being made at a precast facility and then trucked to the site, where again a crane sets them in place.

    • Replies: @Arclight
  36. @Arclight

    “The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough potential labor for construction, it’s that Americans (white, black, whatever) don’t want to frame, hang drywall, paint, etc. at the price that immigrant labor will.”

    Should they?

    Should a white or black programmer work at the same deflated wage as an Indian immigrant? Should this lowest bidder type of thinking extend to doctors and other “high skilled” professions, or are lawyers (a glorified trade in its own right) really deserving of $500 an hour where as the guy who can stop your roof from leaking only deserve $12 an hour?

    Perhaps our priorities are mixed up about a great many things.

    • Replies: @Arclight
  37. Rosie says:

    Maybe they would if the monetary award were there. Maybe they would invest the time it takes to become a master bricklayer or carpenter if they were confident five years down the road their job would not be given to a coolie at half the cost.

    Indeed. Foreign skilled labor has an unfair advantage insofar as they can get training for less and then come over here and exploit our labor market for higher wages.

  38. Mike1 says:

    “cement masons”?! The gap between blue collar workers and everyone else is so enormous now.

  39. CornCod1 says:

    The problem here is that contractors are using the bracero system to get workers, in other words, Mexican intermediaries. If they put an ad in the paper and hired folks legally, there would be more whites hired.

  40. @Anonymouse

    Remember lots of the Mexican and Central American workers are here on their own, with no family to look after. They can get to a worksite whenever and wherever you want. The pay is low? No problem, they’re camping on a floor anyway. Dangerous and difficult? Again, nobody is going to miss them if they’re injured. Our free healthcare will take over.

    Their work ethic really is something to be admired.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Neoconned
  41. I thought San Francisco has laws that severely limit new construction. So no matter how many illegals you bring in, they cannot do much re construction.

    With our low birth rates, it will not require much new construction if we deport the illegals. And our cities will be much less crowded. Win, win.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Anon
  42. Jack D says:

    Is it really that low? Are a lot of construction costs these days at the factory end rather than on-site?

    No and no. The traditional rules of thumb were that land should be 20% of project cost and construction is about 50/50 labor and materials – some trades more, some less. And housing is still site built to a large extent. California is a little crazy but there’s no way that labor is only 2.5% of total cost.

    Now cars, which are built in highly automated factories nowadays, have remarkably little labor in them – around 15 hours, so if GM can save $15/hr by putting the thing together in Mexico vs the US they save a whopping $225 on a $30,000 car. But $225 is a lot of money to a car mfr when you start multiplying it by millions of cars.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
  43. Jack D says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The premise of the picture is kind of dumb. Aesthetically he or she may be right, but the market demands a 2 car garage (at least) which is accessible from the street via a driveway (which you want to be relatively short for reasons of cost and also not to use up the lot and/or your impervious coverage zoning requirement. So when you are building the house you have to site the garage first and then whatever is left over is for the house. So a garage with an attached house sounds like it is ass backward but that’s the practical reality. Maybe when we all get around in bicycles like Maoist Chinese masses, as the writer probably prefers, it won’t be, but for now it is. Since we can’t shrink the garage the only other alternative is to make the house bigger. Not everyone can afford a McMansion and the land to go with it so that their house can be visually in balance with their garage.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  44. Cortes says:

    Would be the death knell of western rentier capitalism so a no-no, dressed up as diversity.

  45. Jack D says:

    the Mexicans we’re talking about — undocumented Central American globalist unskilled temps (who often aren’t Mexican) — have no business on any site.

    This is absolutely false. There are of course many trades that require skills but every skilled tradesman needs at least 1 or more schleppers whose job it is to shovel dirt, carry heavy materials, hold stuff in place, clean up, etc. For these jobs Central Americans who are willing to work hard do just fine. Their productivity is much higher than American blacks who are equally lacking in skills but slack off at every opportunity.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @ATBOTL
    , @Anon
  46. @Anonymouse

    competently supervised Mexican construction workers seem to do top-notch work

    Could be. In NYC, we have lots of weird wall collapses. This story chronicles one of them.

    It has everything we’ve come to expect: illegal immigrants, Mexican, babymomma pumping out kids, workers went to Catholic church and played in a rec soccer league. And they built really crappy walls. Then, when they get injured by them, who pays the medical bills?

    • Replies: @Anon
  47. Jack D says:

    Construction is really in the dark ages. A plain vanilla sedan would cost $100K if they had to bring all the pieces to your garage and hand assemble it there piece by piece. But factory built housing is associated with trailer trash so no one wants it. There are also issues that have never been solved regarding bring a house to the site in panels and getting everything to fit together – you have pipes, wires, etc. that have to span panels and no one has ever created a system that makes this easy so that you could really put a house together like a set of Lego blocks.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  48. @Lot

    I am sure you are correct.

    However, the article was about the availability of construction labor, not its costs. In this context my comment about automation was in reducing head count, not the cost of that head count per se.

  49. JMcG says:
    @Jack D

    Modular houses solved these issues long ago. All those factory homes by the side of Rt 30 on the way out to Lancaster from Philly? They are modulars, built in jigs in a factory, trucked to your site, then stacked with a crane and attached to one another.
    There are Romex connectors for the wiring and a plumbing manifold in the basement with individual plumbing circuits.
    If one specs them out right, I’d say they are probably better than your average spec built house, the quality of which has plummeted in the past 20 years.
    They do still bear a stigma though, but I think that will diminish steadily.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  50. Arclight says:

    Modular also lets developers build all or a big portion of the building in a low wage location and install it in places where on site labor would be union or high wage rate.

    • Replies: @MikeatMikedotMike
  51. Arclight says:

    I agree that they should not. Absent cheap immigrant labor, contractors would have to pay their American workers a better wage, something the left is always carping about but noticeably silent on if immigration has taken over a sector of the economy.

    • Agree: MikeatMikedotMike
  52. Alfa158 says:

    It’s a combination of high labor and materials, at least in California. The rule of thumb is that building a house in SoCal, minus land costs is $200 a square foot. The Mexican laborers, having once undercut and driven American workers out of construction, have run their labor costs up to American standards. Even the Mayan illegal day workers you see hanging around Home Despot will ask for $10 an hour plus lunch.
    Materials have gone through the roof, disposal of debris is like shipping precious metals and the regulations and bureaucracy are crushing. The permit for my new roof cost $500, including an itemized $68 charge just for the inspector taking photos with his phone. 10% of the whole roofing cost was just to dispose of the old roofing materials because of the distance it has to be trucked to and the fees for waste disposal. Building a completely new house takes multiple encounters with the planning commission and 4 to 5 months before you can even break ground.
    In contrast our tax attorney and accountant retired to a Red state where he bought a new McMansion for $280K, including the land.
    On the bright side, one side effect of the Third Worldification of California is that whereas it used be a fairly graft-free civilization, you can now grease the wheels by bribing Los Angeles City building officials as long as you are a contractor they know and can trust.

    • Replies: @epebble
  53. @Abelard Lindsey

    That’s what Levit of Levittown did, actually. You can read:

    “The assembly line construction method enabled Levit to build more efficiently than other developers at the time, with teams of specialized workers following each other from house to house to complete incremental steps in the construction.[7] Levitt also reduced costs by freezing out union labor – a move which provoked picket lines – enabling him to use the latest technology, such as spray painting. He also cut out middlemen and purchased many items, including lumber and televisions, directly from manufacturers, as well as constructing his own factory to produce nails. The building of every house was reduced to 27 steps,[7] and sub-contractors were responsible for each step.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  54. @Mr McKenna

    Brendan Behan: “There’s no such thing as a ‘large’ whiskey.”

  55. @Arclight

    That’s exactly right and thanks for pointing it out.

    Related to commercial construction, pre-cast concrete walls are often ordered from non union mills as well, although trucked by union teamsters.

  56. epebble says:

    a new McMansion for $280K, including the land.

    What State is this?

  57. @Jack D

    “Construction is really in the dark ages.”

    Construction is certainly not perfect, but this statement does nothing be reveal your ignorance about it.

  58. If they want to lower SF Real Estate prices, they could follow the Block-Busting methodology of the 1960s and 1970s, using the original population that made it such a success. There is simply no substitute for inner-city AAs.

    • Replies: @Anon
  59. bomag says:

    …because we haven’t literally had blocks of surplus housing going to nobody for years now


    We’re not supposed to notice that housing prices are high in nice areas, while the supply of nice areas is not growing.

    • Replies: @Corn
  60. bomag says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    Would it not make more sense to automate construction?

    Yes, and lets start rejecting the premise that we need immigrants to do all this work that is going undone.

    If that is even the case, we are far better off leaving the work undone.

    If we really need more people, we should raise them up ourselves. Granddad would be shocked that we have apparently not learned how to create more people.

  61. @Jack D

    Now cars, which are built in highly automated factories nowadays, have remarkably little labor in them – around 15 hours, so if GM can save $15/hr by putting the thing together in Mexico vs the US they save a whopping $225 on a $30,000 car. But $225 is a lot of money to a car mfr when you start multiplying it by millions of cars.

    I’d say there’s plenty of labor in cars, but most of it is provided by subcontractors who furnish the car companies with the sub-assemblies that are bolted together at GM, Ford or Chrysler plants.

  62. David says:

    I just built a 2000 ft^2 house. I can’t think of a single stage where the cost of labor wasn’t in the neighborhood of 50% of the cost or higher except for the 2nd floor joists, which were 14″ gluelams. $5000 of material, 6 man-days of labor at $250 each.

    Standing seam metal roof: $10,000 total, $2000 of material (including an expensive truck for a day). Tile floor: $5000 of material, $8000 labor. Solar: $15,000 material, $9000 labor. Kitchen cabinets, coutertops and tile, $6000 of material, $5000 in labor. I could go on. Plumbing, framing, slab: material and labor all about equal.

    Land in VT is cheap and labor is maybe 50% above the national average. By including the building site you can get to any percentage labor you want. Just pick the right location. Though I think your point is valid, you’re overplaying your hand.

  63. ATBOTL says:

    Bush sold his ranch shortly after leaving office. It was entirely for photo ops.

  64. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Jack D

    You have obviously never dealt with them (woops, forgot how to understand English or Spanish — possibly it will trickle back after the boss leaves), and a native American would be preferable for other reasons besides efficiency.

  65. ATBOTL says:

    That’s the opposite of the truth. Small contractors care more and do better work than big companies. Mexican immigrants do the lowest quality work. South Americans like Brazilians and Peruvians are better and more conscientious workers than Mexicans.

    Unlike most people here, I have worked construction jobs alongside Mexican illegals. They are drunk all the time, extremely immature(think Beavis and Butthead), are very sloppy and cut corners constantly. The work they do is terrible and that’s well known by everybody in the industry.

    • Agree: Trevor H.
    • Replies: @Anon
  66. ATBOTL says:
    @Jack D

    Wrong. Mexicans often work without pay at these kinds of no skill clean up jobs in hopes of getting hired. Often, Mexican workers bring wet back relative to job sites who hang around and do small things with no pay. This has a devastating effect on American workers. How they get hired for entry level jobs when Mexican illegals do them for free?

  67. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Trevor H.

    I have forgotten his handle but we had one among the comment sections, who pointed out the difference between a guy pouring instant and a professional crafting a surface.

  68. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Hannah Katz

    Yes, and those laws come straight from property owners protecting their personal investment at the expense of the public weal, and who are, the rest of the time, Communists.

  69. @contriturated anon

    Rent a few buses or trucks, round up as many “homeless” in San Francisco or other cities as you can cram on

    Followers of one Chandra Mohan Jain (known colloquially as “Rajneeshees”) deployed this tactic decades ago in their takeover of a town in rural Oregon.
    Still… Canada, you say? Hmmm, I wonder if Anchorage has a homeless problem.

  70. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Trevor H.

    They make sidewalks drive ways floors walls subway tunnels and many things with concrete and cement instead of brick cinder block and stone. Just about every home in this country that doesn’t have s basement has a cement slab built by cement masons on the ground covered by s plywood subfloor then carpet or whatever

  71. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hannah Katz

    San Francisco really can’t build any new residential construction other than Asian high rise cubby hole high rise condos in former industrial and slum areas. Downtown high office construction thrives. And it’s sll done by very well paid, well educated American citizens constuctuon workers

    Well paid apprentices and assistants do the scut work. Assistants pick up the materials at the shop five it to the site unload it and bring it to the workers

    It’s amazing that the mostly White all America construction unions of San Francisco have managed to survive in the most anti White state in the country.

    The fact that every politician in the Bay Area is financially and otherwise beholden to the White unions is why

    As far as single family homes, duplexes and small apartments go, there is no empty land available. About the only way to build a new residence is to tear down an existing one. That alone keeps the Mexican illegals out. The 50 story high rises aren’t built by m xicans anf sleazy small contractors. They’re built by Kiwett, Daly, Bechtel and the big boys.

  72. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Still need people who can do A squared plus B squared equals C squared in their head all day long.

  73. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Dark ages when monks managed to design and build edifices like Hagia Sofia and other cathedrals and churches and domes?

    It’s my opinion is that construction and architecture have deteriorated for the last 100 years and getting uglier shabbier more likely to fall
    apart and more disfinctional every year

    • Replies: @Jack D
  74. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    The employers workmen’s compensation insurance company pays the medical bills for injured workers.

  75. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Those schleppers are called apprentices and it’s part of their training

  76. @TomSchmidt

    Constructing tract housing is a little like a moving assembly line except the specialist workers move from one house to the next door one.

    I wrote a paper about factory built housing (where entire sides of houses are delivered to the site pre-assembled) in 1981 in MBA school. Factory built housing that is assembled on site was cheaper for building a single house on a rare empty lot in an already developed neighborhood, but Levitttown style construction was better for building tracts in empty fields. But in already developed neighborhoods, there tended to be demands for fancier houses, whether from the property owner or from his future neighbors, than factory building could easily deliver.

    So factory built houses didn’t have much of a market.

    On the other hand, custom-built homes these days have a fair amount of factory-built subcomponents, so the two polar opposites have somewhat blended together.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  77. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    The AAs lowered housing prices starting in the 1940s. By 1970 it was all over.

  78. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    They’re not here on their own. They live in the projects or section 8 on the women and kid’s welfare. How do you think the wretched refuse manages to send 34 billion back to just Mexico alone every year?

  79. @Anonymous

    This Old House did a program years ago on manufactured housing, not trailers, and found that the savings were < 10% for the reasons you stated and the cost of hauling big sections to the home site and then often needing a crane to put them together.

  80. Dtbb says:
    @Trevor H.

    They must mean concrete finisher or maybe block mason. I have never heard of “cement mason”.

    • Replies: @Trevor H.
  81. p s c says:
    @Trevor H.

    cement mason = concrete finisher. Pours concrete. Levels concrete with a screed board (aka straight edge, rod or stick). works the surface of concrete with an array of tools for different finish. For example a bull float, fresno trowel, magnesium float, steel trowel.

    Cement masons have their own union which they share with plaster workers. However, as of late some cement mason unions have merged with the other “trowel trades” re: bricklayers, stone masons, tile layers, pointers, caulkers, cleaners, etc…..

  82. @Autochthon

    My grandmother’s favorite joke:

    Guy at lunch: “Peanut butter sandwiches, every day it’s peanut butter sandwiches!”
    Co-worker: “If you don’t like peanut butter sandwiches, get your wife to make you something else.
    Guy: “Leave my wife out of this! I make my own lunch!”


  83. @EliteCommInc.

    One of the best most satisfying jobs I had was working on a framing crew. Sawing wood, pounding nails, and at the end of the day you can see what you have done.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  84. p s c says:

    The men who place and rake the concrete are usually laborers. They are generally paid less than the actual concrete finishers (cement masons).

    Brick and stonemasons are paid more than concrete finishers.

  85. Altai says:

    The pro-business lobby is making the same argument in Ireland. Like the US both countries are saturated by cheap construction labour but the greed of developers knows no bounds and they use the housing crisis (A situation they should be healthily profiting from) to demand more visas for non-EU immigrants and more lax hiring laws to hiring natives. What are they going to do, give some of the fat profits to workers? This isn’t the oil industry!

  86. Jack D says:

    Yes craftsmanship has deteriorated but OTOH the industrial revolution hasn’t hit either so you have the worst of both worlds.

    • Replies: @Anon
  87. Jack D says:

    They exist but they have not taken over the market, whereas most other industries were move 100% to factories 100 or 150 years ago. Modulars work up to a certain point but the houses (not surprisingly) tend to come out looking like boxes.

    • Agree: JMcG
  88. Jack D says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    The fact that you say “pounding nails” dates you. One big change on construction sites is that the hammer has been largely replaced with the nail gun.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
    , @Jim Don Bob
  89. Dtbb says:
    @Jack D

    Not in form carpentry or deck building for slab pouring. One company I remember tried it for the deck crews and the foreman took the guns away after a half hour because the mexicans were using too many nails. He screamed at them that they had to pull every nail after the concrete was poured. It was pretty funny.

  90. This is a fun site, if you’re interested in construction costs:

  91. @Jack D

    We did use nail guns. They are much more productive than hammering nails one by one. They are especially useful in the 3 hand drill: one hand to hold the wood, one hand to hold the nail, and one hand to hold the hammer. They are invaluable in trim work.

    We used to pull back the safeties and shoot nails across the street, until someone did it to the fleshy part of his palm. F&&&&t.

  92. @Jack D

    So a garage with an attached house sounds like it is ass backward but that’s the practical reality

    “Practical reality” is the whole problem. If practical reality demanded putting the commode on the front lawn, you wouldn’t want to live in that neighborhood. You’d recognize there was something wrong in the whole set-up.

    Until very recently, houses were expected to be attractive because everybody else had to look at them. Form has a function. A civic one.

    Residential neighborhoods, no matter how neat and clean, that look like long rows of storage lockers are a symptom of a disordered society. Ghettos may be in disrepair today, but their original builders and residents had the right idea, which is why they’re targets of gentrification.

    Maybe when we all get around in bicycles like Maoist Chinese masses, as the writer probably prefers

    Everyone below the driving age is Maoist? Is everyone below the drinking age Mohammedan?

    You still have to answer Cat Stevens’s question.

  93. Supply & demand:

    When more workers compete for jobs, particularly when some of them enjoy wages augmented by monthly welfare for womb productivity and child tax credits, individual human labor is less valuable.

    When more housing seekers compete for rental units, the remaining units are more valuable, increasing the cost of rent.

    Put up the additional apartments, locating those units in the few, safe, middle-class areas that remain intact.

    In an era when so few can afford a house, extra apartments are needed, not just luxury apartments for retiring boomer dual-earner couples, with their two streams of SS income and two streams of pension or 401k income per household.

    We need apartments that are affordable to the many non-welfare-eligible citizens, living on one stream of earned-only income.

    I do not believe there is a shortage of American citizens, willing to do construction work, albeit they may not wish to do it for $8 — $10 per hour, particularly when big government is not boosting up their wages with pay for sex and reproduction, as Uncle Sam does for their legal / illegal immigrant competitors when their wives / girlfriends pop out US-born kids that they cannot afford to feed.

    • Replies: @Anon
  94. Neoconned says:

    This is a bald faced damn lie. In 2014 I went to this HUD senior housing facility they were building around the corner from me

    I BEGGED the white rednexk bald foreman for a job…..doing ANYTHING. Sweeping, roofing whatever.

    He backed out of the conversation by claiming he didn’t hire directly and that he only hired via subcontractors and I’d have to go thru them.

    After 2 months of asking Spanish speaking work crews foor work and being turned down i.quickly learned the so called labor shortage were fabricated by the media ….

  95. Anonymous[307] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    In the UK of the 1960s, there was a marked move towards so-called ‘modular systems’ of building high rise council flats, (public housing), in order to deal with an acute housing crisis.
    Each proprietary system had differing characteristics, but the trend was of bolting pre cast concrete panels onto steel or concrete skeletons.

    These high rise ‘tower’ blocks got a bad rep in the 1970s, and together with the curtailment of public spending in the UK due to economic crisis, virtually none were built after 1980.

    So, in the UK at least, there’s nothing new about attempts to rationalize construction.

  96. Neoconned says:

    You should visit the Deep South where working class blacks & whites still do 11 hour laborer shifts….personally I’ve seen Mexicans and other Latinos “work” and I’m not that impressed.

    I think it’s more just whites in places like California are just lazy

  97. Looks like you dudes have never heard of Fox Blocks. They’re insulated concrete forms. Set them in place, pour the concrete, and done.

  98. @Anonymous

    Okay, the margin of profit in construction is low, but we also have far too many surplus workers—too many foreign nationals chasing rental units—due to inverse colonization.

    The apartment-renting market would be even more crowded with unit seekers, driving up rent, if underemployed, grown, male (and non-womb-productive female) citizens across this land were liberated from their parents’ basements.

    This would happen if the job market were not so full of foreign nationals, willing to work for beans due to generous helpings of monthly welfare and refundable child tax credits that boost up their pay, while undercutting wages for mostly non-welfare-eligible citizens—i.e. ABAWDs without US-born kids under 18.

    For a robot-replacement strategy to drive down housing prices without creating more social chaos via underemployment of humans—lowering costs in construction, not to mention reducing the need for labor in other male-dominated fields without civil strife—mommas, whether they are citizens or noncitizens, would need to have fewer boy babies who grow up to be non-womb-productive ABAWDs.

    Right now, many mommas, whether or not they are US citizens, are being paid by government to produce more workers. Even in households that are not in the lowest income categories, moms often have unearned income streams from government that they do not emphasize.

    It is interesting to listen to temporarily laid-off government employees, complaining about delayed paychecks from otherwise rock-solid stable government jobs, especially since so many of them are dismissive of complaints from citizens, navigating the brutal private-sector job market.

    If they were subject to the brutish whims of the private-sector job market, they would be the loudest whiners about competition from the hordes of welfare-consuming immigrants who undercut wages.

    Government workers look so sweet, showing off their kids on TV, but in truth, in many agencies, entrenched government workers often bully out the new hires who are “non-culture-fits.” They do it without remorse for a very selfish reason: they do not want to face the private-sector job market churn-mobile.

    Most have no sympathy with private-sector workers, going from low-wage churn job to low-wage churn job, with zero back pay and zero government money to cushion them between jobs in most cases.

    For one thing, most government workers are eligible for UC due to the nature of the shutdown, whereas most private-sector workers get zero UC between churn and temp jobs, regardless of whether or not they have spousal income or other kid-related, unearned income streams to help with bills until they secure another churn job.

    Government workers are bemoaning their plight in tbe media, with businesses stepping up to be lenient with them in paying their bills, especially the ones with kids and a spousal income stream, thousands in refundable or non-refundable child tax credits, child support checks or multiple streams of government money in tbe case of the single moms.

    Many of them—heedless of their kids’ privacy in the bully zones called public schools—tell reporters that their kids have various ailments without mentioning any large checks from .gov that increase household income for increasing numbers of working parents in tbe USA.

    When boy babies are little, their mommas either have spousal income, child support checks or, in the low-income households of single moms, various monthly welfare infusions (free EBT food, housing assistance, electricity assistance, monthly cash assistance) and refundable child tax credits up to $6,431.

    In multiple ways, mommas are financially incentivized to produce babies in an era when fewer workers are needed.

    Boy babies grow out of the show-off baby phase.

    When kids pass the age of 18, their moms—in their voted-best-for-moms, mom-dominated, discrimination-gang office jobs, which are likewise scheduled to go on the automation chopping block—can no longer count on a combination of pay-per-birth, unearned income streams from Uncle Sam. Shortly, they will not be able to count on so many non-automated, low-wage, crony-mom, absenteeism-friendly, family-friendly employment opportunities in corporate back offices, call centers, government agencies, small offices, etc.

    Robots can afford to work for less pay even than moms with spousal income, moms with rent-covering child support or moms with monthly welfare and progressive-tax-code checks that equal threee months’ wages for many non-welfare-eligible non womb producers, living on earned-only income.

    They—the mommas—will no longer be able to afford housing, particularly the ones who are single with no spousal income. They will be in the same boat with so many of America’s single, childless men and women and the single parents with kids over 18 who no longer bring in unearned income from government for their parents.

    Many mommas already have no basement for their underemployed sons to dwell in, and this will be more and more prevalent as Gen Xers and Millennials age since fake feminists have been given a giant podium to promote the concept of single, working moms.

    Their propaganda has gone unchallenged for decades, even as they neglected to mention the layered, unearned income streams from .gov that increasingly serve the financial function of a husband for millions of so-called working moms who, in reality, work only part time or in temp jobs, thereby staying below the earned-income limits for welfare programs during working months.

    Absentee mommas, like many of our absentee legislators, are often above firing in their good-ol-moms jobs.

    But due to financial incentives from government, they are simply producing too many male kids who—when grown—cannot just reproduce their way into supplemental income streams from government, as automation continues to devour rent-covering jobs, and bought-off politicians keep admitting waves of immigrants to compete for the ever-scarcer non-automated jobs.

    Some good news: It looks like Trump is momentarily fighting for the people who put him in office, aiming to stop the inverse colonization of the USA that is threatening to destroy the republic, even more so on the cusp of comprehensive automation.

    Assuming he actually goes through with the Corps-of-Engineers wall-building plan, Trump is now fighting the good fight. Maybe, the Army Corps of Engineers can reduce wall-building costs via automated methods, demonstrating to the public one more reason why we do not need a gazillion more Third World foreign nationals, beefing up the construction labor pool, other labor pools and the welfare-for-womb-productivity rolls.

  99. JMcG says:
    @Eric Novak

    They will be before long. NGO’s will sue a compliant government into forcing labor unions and apprenticeship programs into accepting a certain amount of illegals into the trades.
    It is past time for us all to realize that they want us dead and our children starving in the streets. Well paid blue collar guys are the kulaks to the modern bolsheviks. Trump-voting reprobates.

  100. Corn says:
    @Jack D

    I have (or used to have) a book of Robert Heinlein’s short stories and musings. He wrote way back in the 40s or 50s that with modern manufacturing surely one could find a way to make a new house as affordable as a new car.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @J.Ross
  101. Corn says:

    TPTB also want us to follow an 1870s style “let em all in” open borders immigration policy, never minding we’re no longer a frontier society.

  102. @Corn

    Interesting how unaffordable boats remain. Marco Rubio got ripped for buying a fishing boat for about the cost of a BMW 750-iL, but it turned out to look quite basic.

    Cars really have been remarkably affordable since Henry Ford.

  103. Trevor H. says:

    Thanks. As the guy below you explains, it’s something of a neologism. Through all of recorded history the word “mason” referred to someone who worked with bricks, blocks, tiles or stones.

    Of course there’s also those guys with the secret handshakes…

  104. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    You didn’t mention that they steal every body else’s tools as well and play horrible music as loudly as possible thus annoying neighbors.

  105. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    Craftsmanship hasn’t deteriorated. It’s design, materials and architecture that’s deteriorated. Meager little 3 up 3 down 1910 working class townhouses are better designed and much more functional livable easier to clean and all around better than a 2010 6,000 sq ft McMansion

    Floor plan and architecture are the most important thing in a residence. And they have been terrible since 1946. I n some ways floor plans and design are getting worse every year.

  106. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    Contractors won’t hire American workers for anything but high rises, nuclear power plants etc.

    It’s that simple.

    The only reason they hire Americans for high rises is that building codes require that only licensed certified workers build them. Even anti White judges don’t want non licensed workers doing the electricity in their courthouses.

  107. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    One of the best things about union county nstructuon workers is that they know the building code for their own trade throughly and have good knowledge of the codes for other trades as well.

    So fewer problems when the inspectors come around AND fewer problems for the owners of the property.

    Someone who knows nothing about construction mentioned properly supervised unskilled Mexicans. The only contractors who have supervisors are the big boys building high rises and other big projects.

    The contractors who build single family homes small apartments strip malls run from job to job all day leaving the workers unsupervised. So workers who know the codes and don’t need supervision are needed.

  108. J.Ross says: • Website

    Recently at 4chan there was of all things a militant Croat mason (not Mason) expounding on cheap yet perfect construction techniques. A lot of the bases of housing expense are artificial or separate from construction itself (ie, location). He claimed (I cannot confirm this) that there is a cheap but good type of brick, frequently used in the EU, but totally unavailable in the US for no good reason.

  109. tsotha says:

    I remember when I lived in Southern California there was a (successful) drywall worker’s strike carried out mostly by illegals. The irony was the people striking were the very same people the builders had used to break a strike by American drywall installers previously.

  110. @Redneck farmer

    Yes, this exactly. There’s plenty of affordable housing in this country, let’s just get some jobs out there. You know, like manufacturing?

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