Posted July 12, 2018

Construction material prices rise again in June

Last month's material prices averaged 9.6 percent higher than they were last year. 

According to an ABC analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, construction material prices rose another 0.8 percent in June and are 9.6 percent higher than they were at the same time one year ago.

June represents the latest month associated with rapidly rising construction input prices. Nonresidential construction materials prices effectively mirrored overall construction prices by rising 0.9 percent on a month-over-month basis and 9.8 percent on a year-over-year basis.

“In general, this emerging state of affairs is unfavorable,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Rapidly rising materials prices interfere with economic progress in numerous ways, including by making it less likely that a particular development will move forward. They also increase the cost of delivering government-financed infrastructure, raise costs for final consumers such as homeowners, renters and office tenants, and exacerbate overall inflationary pressures, which serves to push nominal borrowing costs higher.

“Materials prices are up roughly 10 percent in just one year, and certain categories have experienced significant rates of price increase,” said Basu. “Among these are key inputs that appear to have been impacted by evolving policymaking, including the price of crude petroleum, which is up 49 percent over the past year, iron and steel, which is up nearly 14 percent, and softwood lumber, up 23 percent.

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