Myrtle Beach area builders seeing price increases for materials

sjones@thesunnews.comFebruary 22, 2013 

— Better business for Grand Strand home builders and elsewhere across the country has translated into increasing prices for construction materials, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

The uptick has drawn the attention of area builders and some say they are trying to hold their prices to customers while others say they are passing along the increases to customers. At least one doesn’t think the increase in material prices will affect builders.

“They may go up now,” said Chad Floyd, vice president of Re-Builders, “but they could just as easy come down next month.”

Ray Matheney, director of sales and marketing for R.S. Parker Homes, said he thinks that moderate price increases likely won’t scare off buyers, but he said Parker Homes is trying to keep the cost of its new homes pretty much as they have been over recent months.

Fred Coyne, owner of Westbridge Homes and a North Myrtle Beach city councilman, said his company operates on a tight profit margin and he’s passing along the increased material prices to customers.

So far, no one has balked, and Coyne said no one knows how much of a price increase buyers will stand before they stop buying.

The AGC said that the price contractors pay for all construction materials rose 0.7 percent from December to January and is up 1.3 percent compared to January 2012.

That might not sound too bad, but materials heavily used in home construction have taken much harder hits.

Gypsum, used in wallboard and plaster, jumped 11.8 percent in January and 20.4 percent in the last 12 months. Lumber and plywood was up 4.2 percent in January and 15.1 percent for the year. Insulation: 2.0 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

Coyne said his company tracks inquiries and saw spikes and gorges for several years before the curves began to level out last year. Now, he said, the ups and downs are gentler and are sticking close to the high end.

“Americans don’t do diets well,” he explained the uptick in activity.

There’s pent up demand, people are feeling more confident about the nation’s economic situation and they won’t wait longer for that addition they’ve been thinking about or that new home that they really need.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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