Prices for Materials
After 5% increases in 2010, costs for construction materials dipped and then bounced back over the last several months. The increases were led by jumps in structural steel and lumber. Watch these two commodities for the next few months for market direction.
Since spiking and dipping dramatically over previous years, stainless steel continues its upward path. Stainless uses nickel in its manufacturing process and nickel is currently subject to wild commodity swings. The price of carpet cruises along steadily at its own rate with consistent increases of 2% per year. The price of common brick has remained flat for the last five years. In contrast, hefty increases in the 6 to 8% range have typified paint prices in recent years, although the industry's slowdown caused paint prices to flatten for 2009-2010. After good seasonal increases in Q2 and Q3 in 2010, plywood dipped and ended the year flat. This material will most likely follow housing's fortunes.