Building Material Prices Continue to Fall in April
According to the latest Producer Price Index report, the prices of inputs to residential construction less energy (i.e., building materials) decreased 0.1% in May 2023 (not seasonally adjusted), following a 0.2% drop in April. The index has gained 0.3%, year-to-date, a stark contrast from the 10.2% and 4.9% YTD increases seen in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
The PPI for goods inputs to residential construction, including energy, declined 0.5% as energy prices drove the index lower. The index has declined 2.7% over the past 12 months but is 36.0% higher than it stood in January 2020.
Gypsum Building Materials
The PPI for gypsum building materials fell 1.1% for the second month straight and is down 0.4%, year-to-date. Gypsum building materials prices are 4.0% higher than they were a year ago but at the lowest level since July 2022.
The PPI for softwood lumber (seasonally adjusted) decreased 3.1% after increasing 6.2% the prior month. Softwood lumber prices have declined 10 of the past 12 months and are 41.9% lower than they were one year ago.
Ready-mix concrete (RMC) prices were revised down for April in the latest release. As a result, prices declined last month for the first time since March 2022. Unfortunately, price growth returned in May as the RMC index increased 1.6%–the largest monthly increase in nearly a year. RMC prices have risen 2.8% YTD—the same increase seen through May 2022—and are up 13.0% over the past 12 months.
Steel Mill Products
Steel mill products price growth continued to accelerate in May as the index rose 5.2%. This comes on the heels of 3.5% and 1.0% increases in April and March, respectively. after climbing 3.1% in February and March combined. The PPI for steel mill products declined eight consecutive months ending in January, falling 27.9% over that span. However, prices have climbed 12.4% in the four months since.