What’s in and What’s out in 2020!

Lumber and Paint Lead Building Materials Price Increases in January

 Written by : NAHBNow is the official blog of the National Association of Home Builders and your one-stop source for home building industry news, product information and educational resources.

The prices of goods used in residential construction ex-energy climbed 3.6% in January (not seasonally adjusted), according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index was led higher by a 25.4% jump in softwood lumber prices, and 9% price increases for indoor and outdoor paint.

Building materials prices increased 20.3% year over year and have risen 28.7% since January 2020. Over the past four months, the index has climbed 8.4%.

The price index of services inputs to residential construction increased 2.9% in January, following a 1.3% increase in December 2021. The index declined 13.5% between June and November last year, but has increased 4.1% in the two months since. The index is 8.9% higher than it was a year prior and 24.1% higher than the January 2020 reading.

building materials - lumber prices

Softwood Lumber: The PPI for softwood lumber (seasonally adjusted) increased 25.4% in January following 21.3% increase the month prior. Since reaching its most recent trough in September 2021, prices have increased 73.9%. According to Random Lengths data, the “mill price” of framing lumber has more than tripled since late August.

Paint: The PPIs for both exterior and interior architectural coatings (i.e., paint) increased 9% in January. Year over year, the prices of exterior and interior paint have climbed 30.3% and 21.2%, respectively. Prior to 2021, the record 12-month price increase for exterior paint was 8.5% and 10.1% for interior paint — each of which was set in March 2019.

Steel Products: Steel mill products prices declined 1.9% in January — the first decrease in nearly a year and a half. Monthly increases in the PPI for steel mill products slowed in each of the five months preceding January 2022. Prices, however, still have more than doubled over the past 12 months.

Ready-Mix Concrete: The PPI for ready-mix concrete (RMC) gained 1.4% in January after increasing 0.6% in December. The index for RMC has been relatively volatile since mid-2020 and has climbed 9.1%, year over year (YoY). Prior to January 2021, year-over-year price increases had not exceeded 8% since December 2006.

Gypsum Products: In January, the PPI for gypsum products climbed for the 11th consecutive month. Gypsum prices have risen 31.4% since August 2020, with only one decrease. Gypsum products prices have gained 23% year over year — the largest increase since data became available in 2012 and more than quadruple the 10-year average.

Other Building Materials: The chart below shows the changes in other price indices relevant to the residential construction industry since January 2020.

building materials prices

July 20, 2020

Mark Boling Construction Inc.
What’s in and What’s out in 2020!

What’s In

Smart Home Technology

“The biggest, fastest change we’re seeing in new homes is the use of technology,” says Sabine H. Schoenberg, founder and host of Sabine’s New House in Greenwich, Conn. “Consumers are embracing smart home features for energy efficiency and safety and security, with entertainment a distant third priority.”

Smith says wireless technology like door locks you can control with an app and Nest “learning” thermostats make life easier for homeowners and are embraced by both younger and older buyers.

Entertaining in the Kitchen

Kitchens have become the showplace of the home and the largest area of the house, says Smith, now that everyone entertains casually.

“The more open your floor plan, the better you want your kitchen to look,” says Schoenberg. “Kitchen islands are getting bigger and are being designed for multifunctional use with materials that are anti-microbial and stain resistant.”

Flexible Rooms

Smith says he likes to put a flexible space on each level, such as a home office on the first floor that can morph into a guest room or a dining room and a play room that can become a study upstairs.

Schoenberg says a room with a big table can function as an office and then be cleared for occasional use as dining room.

“I think it’s smart to set up every room with pocket doors or a barn door so you can have your whole first floor open or you can close some off for separation,” says Schoenberg.

Low-Maintenance Materials

“Another time-saver for downsizing buyers and for busy young families is that homes can be built with materials that don’t need to be constantly painted or maintained,” says Smith. Granite counters, Hardie Plank siding and even longer-lasting paint reduce the workload for homeowners.


Cleaner Exterior Style

Buyers like a clean look, such as white bricks, on the outside of their house and prefer a farmhouse-style with cream, white, blue and gray colors rather than the multiple colors and dark trim found on Craftsman-style homes, says Megan Harris, director of design for Edward Andrews Homes in Atlanta.

Rustic Touches

Homes with natural wood beams and even natural wood ceilings were among the winners of the Best in American Living Awards at the National Association of Home Builders’ 2017 International Builders Show.

“I like to use barn doors made of authentic old wood as counterpoint to the sleek cabinets in a modern kitchen,” says Schoenberg. “Sometimes I add glass panels like French doors for a more contemporary look. It’s nice to have an accent of something rustic in a modern house to add the idea of history.”

Blending Outdoor and Indoor Living

“Buyers are adding covers or screens to their outdoor spaces so they can use them year-round,” says Harris. “They also like direct access from the master suite, as well as living areas to a patio or porch.”

Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are popular, along with walls of glass doors for visual connections between indoor and outdoor rooms, says Smith.

“We’ve brought back screened porches even for townhouses because people want to use them in three seasons,” says Smith.

Schoenberg says outdoor TVs and speakers are also popular for entertaining outside.

Hybrid Interior Design

Harris says buyers like a contemporary look, but prefer to tone it down for themselves. For instance, in a modern farmhouse, they’ll have a traditional cabinet, but painted white, and with a modern handle and an industrial-looking faucet.

“Millennials take more risks, are creative and willing to mix different colors and design styles,” says Smith. “They rarely choose something completely traditional or purely Southern in style.”

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury Vinyl flooring is one of the most talked-about flooring in your home.  With all of the new styles available, there really isn’t a style that you can’t find that won’t compliment any look you are going for.


What’s Out

Wood-Burning Fireplaces.

“Most new floor plans don’t have a fireplace,” says Harris. “This gives buyers the flexibility of having different built-ins as a focal point, such as floating shelves or bookcases.”

Some buyers like a modern electric fireplace in place of a traditional fireplace.

“It’s inconceivable to people interested in green building to put in a wood-burning fireplace, because it puts a hole in the home’s energy efficiency,” says Schoenberg. “Linear gas fireplaces with crystals in the bottom are here to stay because it gives the visual impact of flames and it’s also safer around children.”


Buyers want to see efficiency in every aspect of their new homes, says Schoenberg, so closet systems and organizers are very popular. Organizers built into kitchen cabinets and drawers are also desirable.

Standard Bathtubs

“Most buyers want a larger, more luxurious shower rather than a big soaking tub,” says Harris. “If they have the space, they’ll put in a freestanding tub rather than a drop-in tub.”

Dark Hardwood Flooring

While staining wood floors darker was popular earlier in this century, now the trend has reverted to lighter wood tones with gray, blond and white-washed treatments. Wide planks are also popular.

Whether you like what’s in or what’s out, the beauty of buying a newly built home is that you can personalize it to your taste.

The original author and posting of this article comes from https://www.newhomesource.com/learn/new-home-design-trends/


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