Volatility in Construction Materials Pricing Is Putting Strain on Multifamily Developers

Multifamily developers don’t know what to expect when it comes to budgeting for materials prices.

Apartment developers continue to be stressed by the unpredictable cost of construction materials.

Overall, materials prices keep rising faster than inflation. But what’s worse is that prices for individual construction materials are unpredictable from month to month. The price of lumber and diesel fuel has fallen sharply, for now. But new policies from the U.S. government continue to jolt the markets, from possible sanctions on oil producing countries like Venezuela to government tariffs on imported steel.

Developers and contractors are struggling to adapt. “It’s likely that contractors will try to protect themselves from unexpected price jumps by putting contingencies into their bids or asking owners to share price risks,” says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America.

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