Contractors Cautious About Rising Demand in New Homes

Contractors Cautious About Rising Demand in New Homes

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MOBILE, Alabama -

Hammering, sawing, and stapling. Those sounds translate into dollar signs for Jorge Cancel and his men.

"The situation today is better than it has been," said Cancel, the President of Mobile's Home Builder's Association. "Phone has been ringing off the hook the last six weeks. My competition is saying the same thing."

A new busy workload has been a nice change of pace, after years of slow business.

"Everyone who's still in business has adapted and looked for different ways to stay busy. Remodeling has been a big part of that, and we're starting to see some new home construction happening, and that's exciting.

Home builder Larry Horton of Mobile says he's tried to retire three or four times, but says things have been too busy - mostly because so many other contractors have left the business.

"That's more money for us," said Horton. "More work for us. I hate it for them, but we got to work."

Horton says the problem now is not finding skilled workers, but keeping them.

"We got workers, but they don't show up on time," said Horton. "Come in with they want to , just aren't dependable. And we pay them good money, they just don't want to work. All they want's a paycheck, that's it."

Contractors don't want to speak too soon, but hope this increased demand is a long-term trend and not a temporary spike.

Other parts of the country are reporting more of a rebound than Alabama. Contractors in Florida, Texas, and several Western states claim they've fallen behind on finishing projects, because they can't find enough skilled workers.

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