Katrina may increase building supply costs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Katrina may increase building supply costs

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September 12, 2005

Albany--If you're thinking about a home improvement project, you may want to get started soon. The price of many products including building supplies likely will go up because of Hurricane Katrina. 

"Demand is a whole lot higher," says Home Depot assistant manager Robert Friedlieb.

And that demand will only increase as rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina picks up. 

"When rebuilding starts taking place the demand and prices should go up," says Friedlieb.

And with many building supply stores damaged by Hurricane Katrina, many Gulf Coast residents travel as far as Georgia to purchase their supplies.  A bigger demand in the store's supplies will mean bigger prices, forcing shoppers like Abram Sinclair to think before he buys.

"Certainly. I'm going to think about it, in terms of, should i do this, or should i not," he says.

Thousands of homes will need rebuilding along the Gulf Coast and for Sinclair, a price hike in lumber and other building materials is inevitable.

"Whenever you have a greater demand, economically speaking, that is going to drive the price of any building material up."

Albany's Home Depot store has already seen a supply shortage but not because of Katrina.

"It's from past hurricanes and from rebuilding in the Gulf Coast last year," says Friedlieb.

Katrina will only add to the shortage forcing shoppers like Sinclair to budget their money a little more carefully.

"We're going to have to determine what kind of material I'm going to buy, what grade am I going to buy, and make sure i put that material to the best use possible," says Sinclair.

That's because most building supplies will be put to use on the devastated Gulf Coast.

According the Home Builders Association, the materials that will most likely increase in price are roofing supplies and wood panels.

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