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Weekly Roundup: Construction input price decrease, builder confidence rise, & more

Weekly Roundup: Construction input price decrease, builder confidence rise, & more

August 19, 2019

Construction Insider is a weekly roundup of the latest news and insights in construction.

Construction input prices fall by 0.6% on year-ago basis

Construction input prices suffer by 0.6% on a year-over-year basis in July, despite the 0.8% increase versus June’s rate. FCP

  • Nonresidential construction follows a similar trend with a 0.8% input prices increase in July but a year-over-year decline of 0.3%. 
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) traces the decrease in input prices to the decline in energy prices, including a -20.3% dip for crude petroleum and -31% for natural gas. 
  • “While skilled and semi-skilled construction workers remain scarce, materials prices have tended to sag, including in categories impacted by tariffs,” said ABC chief economist Basu.

Builder confidence continues to rise 

Builder confidence in the market for single-family residential construction continues to trend high as it increased by 1 point to 66 in August. NAHB

  • Builder confidence has remained at a solid 64-66 level in the last four months, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
  • Even with the reported increase in market confidence, builders “continue to struggle with rising construction costs stemming from excessive regulations,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde. 
  • Mortgage rates have also declined to 3.6% from 4.1%, but this decline has not resulted in an increase in building activity. 
  • The decrease in mortgage rates is due to economic uncertainty, but the demand for smaller homes is continuously growing, said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. 

Congress seeks to extend solar investment tax credit

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced the Renewable Energy Extension Act in July which moves to extend the enforcement of the solar investment tax credit (ITC) and other energy tax incentives. Electrical Contractor 

  • The act would extend the solar investment tax credits by another five years. The tax credits were set to expire by the end of the year, following a previous extension in 2015. 
  • Tax incentives for other non-solar energy sources would also be extended, including fiber-optic solar, fuel cells, combined heat and power and geothermal heat pumps.
  • The implementation of solar tax incentives in 2006 has already helped the solar industry grow by more than 10,000%, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association.