9-27-05 - As the cleanup continues, there is concern over the price of building materials. If you have made a trip to a local hardware store lately, you may have noticed some empty shelves.
In the wake of two major hurricanes hitting in a matter of weeks, there is a case of high demand and short supply. Prices of everything from shingles to sheetrock to carpet have gone up drastically. With reconstruction just beginning in the Gulf Coast, those prices will likely stay up.
After Katrina hit, homebuilders knew they had a problem on their hands.
"Since Katrina, seen supplies go pretty fast, little things like generators, flashlights, gas cans and a lot of our lumber," Home Depot employee Lee Canon said.
Add to that the millions of dollars in damages done by Rita. It will take $41 million to clean up Houston alone.
Lumber and other building materials already in short supply are flying off the shelves even in Texoma. With an increase in demand comes higher prices.
Prices on supplies and material have gone up across the board. But to get specific, the price of OSB, a kind of particle board most home builders use, has nearly doubled.
In mid-August, a half inch sheet went for $7.12. Today, it costs $14.95 a sheet, and most stores can't even keep it on their shelves.
"It's really hurting us because we've already bid the work with prices that are much lower," Can Fer Construction employee Ward Grosser said. "We're trying to catch up by buying more materials, get ahead, get more quantity before prices go up more, but there's so much we can do."
The bottom line is that homebuilders are paying more for products. As new projects begin, the costs will be passed on to the consumer. The amount of the increase depends on what happens in the next few months.