Even in normal economic conditions, it's difficult to get good contractors, but now contractors are stretched even more thin because of the fires, said LaDonna Monsees, vice chairman and president of La Jolla, Calif.-based Newland Homes, a developer that sells lots to builders.
The wildfires destroyed more than 3,600 homes and killed 24 people. While many workers are expected to come in from other states, they won't be enough to handle the thousands of new customers.
Most homebuilding in Southern California is done by builders that put up tracts of many homes at one time. They are not suited to help the many homeowners who live in the countryside in scattered ranch-style homes or mountain cabins.
Even if homeowners find a builder, there could be many delays as it could be weeks before some areas are even safe to enter, the AP noted.