Trump’s “America First” version of the U.S. home comes at a cost

Last year, Jim Brown and other home builders around Atlanta could get a good framing crew at a rate of $3.25 per square foot. This year, the few framers they can find demand, and get, almost double that.

“They can ask anything,” Brown said. “There aren’t enough of them left.”

A high-end home builder who supported President Donald Trump last year, Brown said the president’s immigration policies have dried up the already stretched supply of Hispanic-dominated framing labor. That has driven up home prices by slowing the supply of new houses as well as raising the cost of building them. A 3,000-square-foot house that cost $9,750 to frame even late last year now costs $18,000, he said, while last year’s six-month supply of homes in the construction pipeline is down by half. And that’s even before Trump pursues promised trade rule changes that could drive up other home building costs.

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