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JIM BUCHTA

  • January 19, 2013 - 4:17 PM

JIM BUCHTA

startribune.com/justlisted

Price increases remain modest for most construction materials

A producer price index for the most commonly used construction materials shows that prices rose only 1.3 percent last year, a relatively low increase compared with previous years.

Price increases were modest in large part because of big declines in the cost of certain products, including various kinds of metals, paving and fuel products.

Representatives from the Associated General Contractors of America Association warn that the low cost of these products will be temporary as demand for construction products increases.

"The days of low bids and relatively inexpensive construction costs are clearly numbered," said Stephen Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.

In fact, favorable prices on many products already have been offset by whopping increases in the cost of some of the most common building products, including gypsum products, lumber and paint.

Those products are in high demand for use in new apartment buildings, homes and retail spaces -- categories that are seeing healthy growth across the country. The price of gypsum products (aka drywall), for example, already has spiked more than 14 percent, and lumber and wood products shot up almost 11 percent.

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