A post published last week discussed how record numbers of builders were reporting on broad-based shortages of building materials and products. The source of the information was the May survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The same survey asked the HMI panel of single-family builders how total material costs for the same house have changed over the past 12 months.
The most comment response (checked by 28.0 percent of builders) was that materials costs increased by 20 to 29.99 percent. However, 15.9 percent indicated that costs increased by 30 to 39.99 percent, 5.9 percent indicated 40 to 49.99 percent, and 15.2 percent even indicated that their costs had increased by 50 percent or more.
On average, the 12-month increase in material costs for the same house was 26.1 percent. Historically, NAHB has included the material cost question on its HMI questionnaire six times since 2012. The 2021 figure of 26.1 percent is the highest the average 12-month cost increase has been over that span—by a wide margin. The previous record was 6.1 percent recorded in 2017.
Material availability and costs are one of several factors, including the cost of regulation and a general shortage of construction labor, limiting the supply of housing, particularly for the entry-level market where additional inventory is badly needed.