December 2014 Saw Lower Construction Material Costs Across the U.S.

Prices for 11 important residential construction materials dropped in December 2014, with indications that prices may drop even further in the early months of 2015.

Construction material costs fell 1.4 percent in December 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Producer Price Index. The price reductions in December represented a nearly 1 percent decrease in prices from the prior year.

Nonresidential construction materials fell 1.7 percent for the month of December. Prices for these materials fell nearly 2 percent from the same point in the previous year.

steelThe Producer Price Index data showed notable decreases in seven of 11 key categories of construction material, including:

  • Softwood lumber – December prices fell 1.3 percent, though prices were 0.3 percent higher than December 2013.
  • Iron and steel – Iron and steel prices dropped 1 percent in December 2014, with a 3.9 percent decrease from December 2013.
  • Nonferrous wire and cable – December prices were down 1.6 percent and yearly prices were down 1.5 percent.
  • Prepared asphalt, tar roofing and siding – These materials experienced a 1 percent drop in prices for December 2014. However,  prices were 1.9 percent higher than they were in December 2013.
  • Steel mill products – December prices represented a 1.3 percent decrease on a monthly basis but a 0.4 percent increase on a yearly basis.
  • Crude energy materials – Prices decreased 4.7 percent in December 2014 and 19.6 percent compared to the same period in December 2013.
  • Crude petroleum – Significant price drops occurred in the area of crude petroleum. Prices in December 2014 were down 18.9 percent, representing a 37.1 percent decrease from prices in December 2013.

A few categories of construction materials experienced price increases in December. These include plumbing fixtures, concrete products, fabricated structural metal products and natural gas.

Managers and business professionals in the construction industry can find up-to-date information on construction trends in Construction Monitor’s weekly reports and data resources. Contact us today for more information on recent developments in construction material costs and for expert insight into cost developments.

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