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Building A Home May Soon Cost More, Local Experts Warn

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RALEIGH, N.C. — If you are in the market for a new home, now might be a good time to buy, experts said.

With another potentially catastrophic hurricane lurking in the Gulf Cost, the price of building supplies will probably only go up and the cost of rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina may soon reach far beyond the Gulf Coast states.

"Lumber prices had started down a little bit until this hurricane came through," Raleigh builder Mike Houseman said. "Now lumber prices seem to be heading back up along with Sheetrock, concrete -- a little bit of everything."

In the wake of Katrina and with Hurricane Rita on the way, builders in the Triangle said the price of construction supplies could go through the roof.

Some companies are already tacking on a delivery surcharge because of the high gas prices.

Others are raising prices because supplies are running low. For example, oriented strand board, which is made from pressed wood chips, has gone up $5 a board in the past week alone.

Experts said do-it-yourselfers may soon start noticing a shortage at stores.

At some home improvement stores in the area, the sale of oriented strand board has been limited to one pallet at a time.

"We'll probably see where it will be a little bit more difficult and take a little big longer to get the materials that you'll need," Tim Minton, of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh, said.

For new home-buyers, the longer you wait, the more you may pay in the long run.

"That's why I would say these houses we have under construction now would be your best value out there," Houseman said.

So how much will house prices rise?

Some builders said houses could be as much as 10 percent higher in six to eight months.


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