Rising prices and growing shortages were part and parcel of the life of a US builder in 2004. But there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Tight materials supplies and their impact on prices "have been a significant concern of builders in the past year," said Michael Carliner, an economist with the National Association of Home Builders.
"In the past few months the situation has eased a bit. But builders aren’t out of the woods yet, Carlinger said. With nonresidential construction expected to pick up steam in 2005 and with residential construction estimated to run close to 2004 record levels, tight supplies could still be in the offing for builders.
Ed Sullivan, chief economist at the Portland Cement Association, said the cement shortage has had little impact on the cost of new home construction. "During the past year the cost of materials needed to build a single-family home has escalated significantly," Sullivan said. "A July 2004 survey performed by the National Association of Home Builders estimated these increases at $5,000 to $7,000 per new home. However, cement price increases account for a meager $283 of the estimate" concluded Sullivan.