Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Novak, Ralph S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Management


Housing--Illinois; Wages--Illinois


In the past few years the crisis in housing has become a major topic of magazines, newspapers and various other media. The problems involved are so complex that this thesis could not begin to cover all of them; therefore, labor was selected as the thesis topic. Other phases such as material and land costs were analyzed to interpret the complexity of problems involved. The major problem analyzed was the effect that labor wages had on one family houses within the Chicago area. Housing prices have risen so abruptly in recent years that a need for more understanding is seen. An attempt was made to learn if trade wages had increased proportionately with the cost of the house. To reveal the force wages had on housing both quantitative and qualitative data were used. The house was defined both in size and value. In order to establish an average one family dwelling size and value such sources as the Bureau of Labor Statistics were contacted. A questionnaire was derived to aid in determination of a definition of the average single family residence and to evaluate the effect of wages on that house. Once the house had been defined, wage rates were compared with the house to analyze their effect on its construction. To add another perspective, wages were compared with the Consumer Price Index to learn if their rate of increase was equal with inflation. This thesis resolved that labor wages have risen at a more rapid rate than inflation, demonstrating that the consumer was not receiving the same house for his investment as he was twenty years ago. Although high labor wages were seen as directly re­lated to house prices, they were minor when compared to the increase in land and financial costs. Also, part of the additional cost in houses was attributed to increased size. A comparison made revealed a decrease in replacement cost over the twenty year period studied. The information presented should be understandable to prospective house buyers as well as contractors and tradesmen.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [91]-94)


102 pages




Northern Illinois University

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