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Why are construction costs so high?

Construction costs in New England have risen steadily at 5-6 percent/year over the last five years. The increases have been driven by both a huge demand for skilled subcontractors and escalating material costs.  The boomer retirements, the number of folks who were forced to leave the trades during the last downturn and then never returned, and the lack of young people now entering the trades all continue to plague the skilled labor pool.  In 2018, the escalation trends in labor have been compounded by the threat of tariffs and/or actual tariffs on imported lumber, steel, metals, and manufactured items (modular boxes, glass, equipment, etc.). Industry experts are seeing costs for materials like rebar (steel bars used to reinforce concrete walls & floors) increase from roughly $900/ton to roughly $1,350/ton in just the last three months.  Similarly, they report ~20-30% increase on other building materials that are not made domestically (which is quite a few). That said, 2nd quarter industry reports are reporting material prices overall are up roughly 10% the last 12-months, with certain categories experiencing significant double-digit rates of increase.