Recent hurricanes likely to cause building cost increases in Kentucky

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As construction crews in Florida and Texas prepare to take on massive rebuilding operations, the demand for raw materials could impact homeowners and businesses in Kentucky.

The Building Industry Association in Lexington says workers are right in the middle of a busy season and that the timing of recent hurricanes hitting the United States couldn't be worse.

Experts in the building industry say Kentucky has struggled to find workers; now finding affordable materials is also becoming a challenge.

"We are paying more for material now than we did even a few weeks ago," said Doug Barr.

Barr is the manager at Palumbo Lumber. He says the volume of materials that will be needed to rebuild the battered coasts of Florida and Texas will likely mean higher prices.

"What it does is create panic buying amongst those of us that are sitting out here trying to make sure we have product for our customers," Barr said.

Local builders say they want to make it clear now that the costs will ultimately fall on consumers.

"They want their client to be aware of what might impact them down the road, in a few months, if they are just starting a project now. And they want to protect themselves as a company as well," said Todd Johnson with the Building Industry Association.

While rising prices may be jarring, Barr says other factors like forest fires and international policies can also impact the lumber industry.

"We've gotten maybe, more hurricanes coming so, yeah, if you're ready to build there's no reason not to build now," Barr said.

Experts say the biggest and lasting increases will likely be on asphalt products such as shingles since they are made from crude oil which has seen a 6 percent price increase since Hurricane Harvey hit.

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