Contractors and Materials in the new economy

kraftdeeMarch 21, 2008

I'm totally clueless about economy and wonder if anyone out there has seen forecast --or maybe it's obvious (just not to me) if it is better to buy material for home improvements now or later. We won't be ready for another 6-8 months and I'm just wondering if I can expect a decrease or increase in price of material and labor due to the economy changes that have and will be occuring? I appreciate any insight.

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The major problem I see - aside from the real prospect that the prices of materials and labor will NOT be going down even when the economy shakes out - is the logistics of stockpiling materials for a project scheduled for some time in the future.

I suppose much would depend on the kind of renovation you'll be doing, but all along the planning process needs, wants and tastes change. Perhaps it would be better to have some upward flexibility in your budget.

With the tightening controls on credit, some of the fallout of all this will be many more people redoing existing homes as opposed to buying new ones - so contractors and those in the buiding trades will be in big demand and charges for materials and labor will be equally demanding.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 11:13PM
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My husband is a drywall contractor, and many of his suppliers have sent out notices about material price increases in the next month or two due to increased transportation costs.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 11:32PM
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I don't like to be disagreeable, but I question whether this is to be called a "new economy".

There have been financial crises from time to time, though seldom as serious as this one - this one may turn out to be one of the worst in a half century or so. Anyone think of the "Dirty Thirties"?

The building business has been cyclical for a long time - first there's a boom, then a slackening. When there's a recession, people tend not to take on big issues, especially debt, like buying a house.

It seems to me that currently, with more houses being on the market due to the fallout from the mortgage crisis, fewer houses will be built, which will mean a reduction in the big demand for building materials.

I agree that the higher cost of fuel will impact the cost of the goods that we buy, all along the line.

Also, as the value of the U.S. Dollar drops, stuff that you import will cost more.

It could be that the potential rise in cost due to rising costs of materials will be somewhat offset by lowered demand due to reductions in new building.

Which will apply to the contractors, as well - if they're building hardly any houses, they'll be looking for renovation work and may be willing to work for lower than usual costs.

My landlord the sod farmer says that he expects a slow summer, in that much of the demand in the sod business is for new housing - not many concrete foundations being put in place last fall, set to be framed during the winter. He's spent much of the winter repairing and repainting his machines, to make them operable for a more extended period.

We have a substantial 40-year-old Ford plant building their big cars, Grand Marquis and Crown Vics locally, that have laid off quite a few recently, as part of the reason in this area.

Which may mean less demand for not only building materials, but contractors, as well, as that's rather a cyclical business.

It might be a good time for me to buy some materials, within a year or so (maybe more for I look for this cutback to be prolonged), as I want to build some storage space in the attic, even though it's not my home. My landlord's a good guy and I'm paying fairly low rent, here.

On the other hand - when you're nearing 80, your view of "long term" tends to have a somewhat different definition than in earlier years.

Living 8 miles from the village and about 17 miles from the city means that I'll have a difficult time continuing to live here when I can't keep my driver's licence: hitch-hiking isn't much fun in winter.

I hope that you all have a great weekend ... and are responding to the rejoicing and challenges of Easter, if that celebratory event is meaningful to you.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 7:49AM
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thank to all of you wise people for sharing your thoughts on this. this is really helpful !

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 10:44AM
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