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What Drives ENR’s Cost Indexes

Publication Date: 3/18/2009
Author: Tim Grogan
Format: HTML

Although ENR’s cost indexes measure the costs of nonresidential buildings, the downturn in the housing market still has a major impact on index movement. During this quarter, lumber prices in the indexes were down another 1.8%, after dropping 23% over the previous four years. Falling lumber prices had been offset by surging steel prices. However, the current recession has sent steel prices tumbling. As a result, the Building Cost Index (BCI) fell 1.8% this quarter, pulling the year-to-year escalation down from 7.3% last fall to 4.3% this month. The Construction Cost Index (CCI) is less affected by these swings in material prices The mechanics of what drives ENR’s indexes are explained below.

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