PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — It seems like everything is costing us more these days from gas to groceries.
Now, we’re finding out one sector, in particular, is seeing the highest price hike in 50 years. Construction materials costs are up 17.5 percent year-over-year from 2020 to 2021. The US Census Bureau says that’s the largest year-over-year increase in material costs since 1970.
The increase is affecting everything from lumber, to concrete, to metal and hundreds of materials in between.
“I’ve never seen a situation like this. The pandemic has impacted us in a way where the costs are through the roof, affordability is a challenge for everyone and the market here in Tampa Bay has seen inflation above everywhere else in the country,” Mike Sutton, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity’s Pinellas and Pasco division explained.
For Habitat for Humanity in Pinellas and Pasco County, it means that the typical home is costing $30,000 more to build now versus the cost pre-pandemic.
“It’s forcing us to be a lot more creative and innovative in the way we are doing things. We’re about to open a new restore location to help drive in more revenue, we’re raising a lot more money,” he added.
“It’s stressing us out quite a bit,” Valerie McKenzie said. Her family owns American Housing Builders in Pinellas Park. They’re doing everything they can to keep from passing those costs down to homeowners from ordering in bulk to steering customers towards more budget-friendly materials.
“Some of the stuff like fancy backsplashes, circle driveways or something of that nature can be done later so to keep costs down that’s what most of our customers are doing cutting back on the extras,” McKenzie added.
Homebuilders are now in a pinch because they are caught between a red hot buyer’s market and a substantial materials shortage.
McKenzie hopes the price hikes won’t last long term. She hopes once COVID subsides and factories are fully back up and running that prices will fall back down. “Staying positive is the best thing we can do right now. Otherwise, we’ll go nuts,” she added.