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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.


ENR's lumber prices post modest rebound in December.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, Lumber, DrywallENR's lumber prices post modest December rebound

Lumber prices posted a modest rebound in December, after declining an average of 0.4% in November, according to ENR's 20-city average price for three species of 2x4s. This month, prices for that group of lumber products averaged a 0.5% increase. On a year-to-year basis, ENR's price for the most commonly used species of 2x4s is up 5.6% for the year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for lumber in October was 5.3% above 2013's level. Those gains may be short-lived. Mill prices tracked by Crows reports are down 11.2% from December 2013 (see table).


Pipe prices under downward pressure.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, PipePipe Prices Under Downward Pressure.

Construction pipe prices are under downward pressure, with modest but broad monthly declines for reinforced-concrete pipe, PVC water and sewer pipe and even ductile-iron pipe, according to ENR's 20-city average prices for December. However, prices for all three categories are still above a year ago. Copper water tubing is the exception. ENR's price for ∏-in. copper pipe slipped another 0.2% this month and is 6.3% below 2013's level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for copper fell 1.6% in October, following declines in the previous two months, and is now 3.8% below a year ago.


ENR's asphalt, cement and concrete prices for December 2014.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, Cement, Concrete, AggregatesCement prices slip 0.3% this month.

Cement prices slipped 0.3% this month, after rising steadily through most of the year, according to ENR's 20-city average price for type-one portland cement. Despite the dip, ENR's cement prices are still 5% above a year ago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for cement jumped 1.1% in October, after holding steady for two months. The PPI for cement is still cruising on a 3.9% increase last April; in October, it was 6.7% above 2013's level. Asphalt paving price tracked by ENR fell 0.8% this month but is still up 4.2% from a year ago. The October PPI for asphalt was up 2.2%.


ENR's steel, rebar and metal plate prices for November 2014.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, SteelStructural steel prices rolled back 0.3% in Novem.

Structural-steel prices were rolled back 0.3% in November, after jumping 1.0% last month, according to ENR's 20-city average price for channel, wide-flange and I-beams. That slight dip still left average prices 1.4% above a year ago. The largest year-to-year hike was 1.8% for wide-flange beams. Prices for grade-60 concrete reinforcing bars rose 0.5% this month, following a 0.7% increase in October; this uptick left rebar prices 2.2% above a year ago, according to ENR. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for sheet metal held steady in September. That index is now 2.3% above 2013's level.

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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