Understanding the industry

I am doing research on the Home Building industry and am trying to figure a few things. Would welcome responses from anyone familiar with the area.
1) Are the large production builders actively moving to larger organized framing operations like stock building supply, building material holding corporation (SelectBuild) for their framing needs?
2) Now that housing is slowing, and builders are facing pressure on their margins, they are trying to push this margin pressure down the supply chain. Is this pressure sticking, i.e., are their suppliers (including framers) offering the builders significant discounts, which would reduce their own, i.e. supplier's, margins. As an alternative, in order to maintain their own margins, the suppliers could offer cheaper solutions to help the builders cut their cost of building. However, this solution may not be acceptable to the builders. Would love to know the perspective of some of the suppliers dealing with the big builders?
3) Is construction labor still in short supply?
4) How much of a residential construction slowdown is happening?
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http://housing-watch.com/regionview.aspx?city=Phoenix&pctu&g=m
and end of the article: http://thehousingbubbleblog.com/?p 92
build snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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I can say on the Mid Atlantic states it is slowing to the point that people are getting laidoff even sales staffs.
I know people that have worked for businesses for 15+ years that are being let go because the developer cant sell the homes they built on spec. or that buyers have backed out on because they lost their jobs.
They told me In Delaware there is a surplus of over 5000 homes which has been growing for the past year and since MBNA / Bank of America merger Dupont and GM Layoffs and closings there is so much office space available that prices are too cheap to build more.
Now there will always be a need for new homes and businesses but Labor is not in short supply.
The crews here are getting about 1/3 the rate of Baltimore and Phily. I dont know if its because we have a weak union here or more likely because every trade here now has a good percent of illegal aliens.
If you work in concrete I know you are lucky to get a buck over minimum wage. almost every concrete crew and street crew is Illegals
I would say a good % maybe 35% of paint / drywall crews and 25% of Framing crews are also Illegals.
Mechanical Trades are lower and Electrical is lower too but Plumbing is very high maybe 50%+ when you are talking New Homes
I think as they continue to lose money they will turn more towards hiring Illegals.
also In Delaware they Hire outside the State. Most Materials are shipped in from Pennsylvania. Even Comcast Hires out to a firm in Boston Mass to build and Maintain their Network. Verizon is doing the same.
Not to mention that Electricity Prices are up 50% and water / sewer is up over 100% in most small towns here.
If youre in the trades or selling homes its tuff in Delaware now.

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I am sorry to hear this.
In any case, is the situation in the trades different from what it was let's say six months ago.
In addition, do the large builders care if the framing contractor that they hired is using illegal labor?
Also, in order to save money at a time when home prices are coming down, will the large production builders gravitate towards crews which are able to offer lower prices because they use illegal aliens.
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