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Materials Trends

Prices are updated monthly by ENR's price reporters who call a single source for each product in 20 U.S. cities. The price represents that paid by a contractor for a specified large order. Monthly prices appear on the weekly rotating cycle.


Structural steel prices hold steady in July.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, SteelStructural steel prices held steady in July.

Structural-steel prices held steady in July, according to ENR's 20-city average price for wide-flange, channel and I-beams. The average price for the three products is 1.2% below a year ago. The largest year-to-year price drop was 1.8% for channel beams, followed by declines of 1.0% for wide-flange beams and 0.8% for I-beams. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for structural metal products fell 0.2% in June, following May's 0.3% decline. The back-to-back monthly cuts kept prices just 0.8% above June 2013's level. ENR's 20-city average price for rebar is down 1.1% for the year.


Lumber prices are starting to rebound after sluggish first half of the year.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, Lumber, DrywallLumber prices starting to rebound.

Lumber prices are starting to rebound after a sluggish first half of the year. ENR's 20-city average price for the most commonly used species of 2x4s jumped 1.1% this month and are 5.3% above July 2013's level. ENR's average price for 2x4 pine is up 9.3% for the year, while 2x4 fir prices posted a 2.9% annual gain. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for softwood lumber rebounded 1% in May, checking April's 4.0% decline. The index is now just 0.2% above a year ago. Mill prices for western spf tracked by Crow's Publications increased 3.6% in July and are now 18% above a year ago.


ENR's prices for PVC water pipe post strong gains.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, PipePVC pipe prices post strong gains in July

ENR's prices for PVC water pipe posted strong increases in July, with an average monthly price hike of 1.4%. This uptick helped to reverse steep price cuts during the previous three months. Despite July's gains, prices for PVC water pipe are still averaging 2.5% below a year ago, according to ENR. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for plastic construction products, which is mostly PVC pipe, declined 0.7% in May, after four months of increases. That dropped the annual increase for the PPI to 1.5% from 2.0% in April. In July, ENR's prices for PVC sewer pipe fell 0.2% and are 1% below a year ago.


Prices for asphalt paving oi slipped 0.1% this month.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, Cement, Concrete, AggregatesAsphalt paving oil prices decline this month.

Prices for asphalt paving oil slipped 0.1% this month, according to ENR's 20-city average prices for PG-58 paving oil. That marked the third consecutive monthly price decline, leaving ENR's price just 0.5% above a year ago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for asphalt paving mixtures rebounded 1.4% in May after falling 1.2% the previous month. The volatile swings left the May PPI for asphalt products 1.8% above a year ago. The producer price index for cement rose 0.6% in May, after jumping 3.1% in April, raising annual escalation to 5.7%, which is up from 3.1% in January.

Materials Price Index

The Materials Cost Index is the materials component of ENR’s building and construction cost indexes. It tracks the weighted price movement of structural steel, portland cement and 2 X 4 lumber.

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