Building Materials Prices Hold Steady in October


Prices paid for goods used in residential construction held steady in October (not seasonally adjusted) according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Building materials prices have declined an average of 0.2% per month over the last 12 months, and the price of goods used in residential construction has risen 1.7% in 2019. Not only is that price growth less than one-third the pace of increases in 2018, it is the slowest year-to-date growth through October since 2015.

The PPI report shows that softwood lumber prices increased 0.3% (not seasonally adjusted) in October, a modest change relative to the 3.8% increase seen in September. Prices have been relatively stable over the last 12 months–increasing 0.9% over that period—and are 3.0% higher than they were in January 2019.

The price index for gypsum products increased 1.4% in October after advancing 0.3% in September (seasonally adjusted). Gypsum products prices declined by 6.2% over the first six months of 2019 but have increased 4.5% since. Even after the recent increase, however, prices are 3.3% lower than they were at the start of 2018.

Prices paid for ready-mix concrete rose 0.1% in October (seasonally adjusted) after falling 0.6% in September (seasonally adjusted).

The regional indexes for the Northeast (-0.5%), Midwest (-1.4%), and West (-0.1%) declined in October, while prices ticked up by 0.3% in the South (not seasonally adjusted).

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