Construction materials

Which building materials exhibit the greatest volatility?

As the US economy recovers from the pandemic and global supply chain issues disrupt the availability of various goods, construction prices are rising. A recent report by real estate services firm JLL found that from August 2020 to August, the average final construction cost of commercial properties in the United States increased 4.5%. Company researchers predict that by the end of the year, total construction costs will have risen by more than 6.0%, followed by a similar increase in 2022. Regarding building materials in particular, the average cost of a business development project increased by 23.1 percent during the period. In fact, material supply issues were responsible for 22% of commercial project delays this year, the second most important factor after decisions made by homeowners. In 2020, these types of issues only accounted for 3% of project delays. And the problem could last for another year – JLL predicts that building material costs will rise another 5-11% over the next 12 months.

However, the level of price volatility varied depending on the material. For some common building products, price increases this year were the highest in more than 70 years. For others, the increases are more comparable to what happened in the previous real estate cycle, in 2010.

To show where the most striking increases are showing, JLL has compiled a Building Materials Volatility Rankings, showing which materials have seen the biggest price swings recently. To see which materials are the most volatile and which are the least volatile, click on our gallery.


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