A Dream Home Delayed

Brenda Harbison was actually supposed to be in her new home last Christmas. Seven months later workers are still scraping away, CBS News Correspondent Maureen Maher reports.

"It is frustrating," says Harbison. "Everything we own is in storage, my child is sleeping on the floor. You know I could have made different arrangements."

She isn't alone. The construction industry has run into a brick wall. With last year's record number of new home buyers, building materials and labor are now in critically short supply, putting new homes 60-90 days behind schedule across the country.

"It's extremely bad," says Steve Raegor, a drywall contractor. "We're running anywhere from a hundred houses behind on sheetrock."

The national shortage of building supplies -- especially drywall -- even has contractors pushing carts with the do-it-yourselfers, forcing most of the big retail stores to ration inventory.

Home builder Debra Kerstein is caught in this predicament. "It might be supplies or it might have been a labor crunch, but we have never really experienced this at the same time," she says.

Another reason for the shortage were the killer tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma last spring. Soon afterward, construction workers from around the country abandoned developments, taking their skills and supplies to a more profitable project.

Insurance companies are drafting good qualified craftsman away from the major cities.

The insurance companies are paying them top dollar to rebuild some 8,000 homes, as the delays and costs continue to mount elsewhere. While Brenda has been waiting for workers, mortgage rates have gone up. She'll now be paying another $200 a month for the next 30 years.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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