Hurricane Katrina Upping Construction Costs

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

Mel Strobel owns Evans Building Supply. He says around this time of year there's usually a reduction in costs, but not this time, not right now. And what would usually take up to 48 hours to produce is now taking up to eight weeks. Most of the supplies are going down to the coast. And Strobel is among the many building suppliers, contractors, and manufacturers who are feeling Hurricane Katrina’s and Rita’s bite.

With petroleum rates at all-time highs, diesel prices for fuel are even higher, shipping and handling rates, are through the roof. And the plywood supply is even higher. In the past five weeks, lumber costs have jumped 65 percent.

Daryl Hutchins owner of Slingluff Construction Company, says because of the inconsistency in material hikes, he has to make up for the difference, which in the end is passed on to customers

The bottom line: A $100,000 house will now cost about eight percent more. In Mississippi alone, 60 billion feet of lumber was destroyed. Only a small percentage has been recovered.

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