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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 post modest 0.1% gain in August.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, SteelStructural steel prices rise 0.1% in August.

Structural-steel prices posted a modest 0.1% uptick in August, according to ENR's 20-city average price for wide-flange, channel and I-beams. However, the average price for the three products remains 1.2% below a year ago. The largest year-to-year price drop was 1.7% for channel beams, followed by declines of 1.0% for wide-flange beams and 0.9% 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 PPI is just 0.8% above June 2013's level. ENR's 20-city average price for rebar is down 1.2% for the year.


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

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

Plywood prices bounced back 1.1% in August, according to ENR's 20-city average price for 5/8-in. panel. The monthly jump checked four months of declines, but prices are still 1.2% below a year ago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for plywood rose 1.4% in May, followed by another 0.7% in June. Those back-to-back monthly increases nudged the index 0.2% above June 2013's level. Just two months earlier, the index was running 5.6% below 2013. Revisions to ENR's plyform, particleboard and gypsum-wallboard prices were behind upticks posted by these products this month.


ENR's pipe prices for August show mixed results.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, PipeENR's pipe prices for August show mixed results.

ENR's 20-city average pipe prices showed mixed results in August, posting monthly declines for PVC water and sewer pipe as well as ductile-iron pipe and copper water tubing. However, prices for reinforced-concrete pipe and corrugated-steel pipe showed some gains. ENR's price for four RCP products averaged a monthly gain of 0.9% and, as a group, are 3.8% above a year ago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for concrete pipe in June was up 4.5% for the year, following three consecutive monthly price hikes totaling 1.7%. ENR's average CSP price rose 0.3% this month and is up 1.8% for the year.


Cement prices decline 0.2% for the month.

Construction Economics, Materials Trends, Cement, Concrete, AggregatesCement prices decline 0.2% this month.

Prices for portland cement slipped 0.2% this month, according to ENR's 20-city average price. That checked six months of steady increases, leaving ENR's price just 3.4% above a year ago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' producer price index for cement slipped 0.1% in June, also checking strong increases totaling 4.9% during the previous three months. The PPI for cement prices was 5.6% above a year ago. ENR's 20-city average price for ready-mix concrete increased about 0.8% this month and is averaging between 1.8% and 2.9% above a year ago. The June PPI for ready-mix concrete was up 4.3% for the year.

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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