Home builders have been fretting about decreased demand for housing compounded by increased building costs. A story in The Decatur Daily in Decatur, Ala., today outlines some of the price hikes for the materials used in construction.

Here’s a bit to get you going:

If you want to understand why home builders are worried about the cost of construction materials, walk into a house.

Before you get inside, you’re standing above water and sewer pipes. Steel costs have escalated, largely due to heavy demand in China.

Then walk up the driveway. Concrete costs have jumped 11 percent in the last year, according to The American Institute of Architects, largely due to anticompetitive consolidations among concrete producers. If it’s an asphalt driveway, the costs are up even more.

Petroleum is a major ingredient of asphalt, and petroleum costs are at record highs.

The story also discusses some alternatives to using expensive copper. Builders are experimenting with aluminum instead of copper wiring and plastic pipes instead of copper ones, the story says.

KELLY BENNETT

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