Any drop in oil prices also may be offset by other construction costs, particularly the going prices for materials. The cost of building materials were mixed in January, but continue to be up over last year, according to the Engineering News-Record. Prices for structural steel – including rebar, beams and stainless steel – fell 0.2 percent in February on top of a 0.4 percent drop in January. Lumber, paneling and drywall continued an upward trend. Gypsum wallboard rose in price by 7.4 percent in January for a 21 percent year-over-year increase. Particleboard prices rose by 11 percent in January. Reinforced concrete pipe nudged up 0.05 percent and cement products slipped 0.2 percent after going up 0.5 percent in January.
“U.S. building materials companies that produce aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and cement will benefit moderately from lower oil prices in 2015,” Moody’s Investors Service said in a statement. “Costs associated with transporting materials will decline with diesel costs, but these companies will also benefit from broader economic gains from higher consumer consumption and healthier state and national budgets.”
Whether prices of oil and materials will drastically affect new construction or consumer confidence, we’ll have to wait and see. But regardless of whether consumer confidence improves or not, it’s clear that the new construction market is a hot one with plenty of buyer demand.