Pallet of wood planks.

©Nathalie Dupont - Getty Images

A recent decline in lumber prices is helping to mitigate building costs, but that effect is being offset by numerous increases in other building materials that are surpassing records. Home building materials have climbed by up to 19% over the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index.

The building materials that have seen the largest increases so far in 2021, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog, include:

  • Steel mill products
  • Building paper and building board mill products
  • Asphalt
  • Plastic water pipe
  • Fertilizer materials
  • Laminated veneer lumber
  • Thermoplastic resins and plastics materials
  • Structural metal joists and concrete reinforcing bars
  • Wood window and door frames
  • Copper pipe and tube
Chart, largest price increases of building materials

Source: National Association of Home Builders

The price change in steel mill products has been most notable, climbing 81% year over year. That follows an 11% increase in 2020.

The median sales price of a new home in July was $390,500, an 18.4% increase compared to a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department. Builders say the higher prices are due to the increases in development costs, including materials, that are being passed along to home buyers.