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Tariffs are driving up the cost of building a home in central Indiana

Posted at 8:29 PM, Aug 08, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS -- If you’re planning to build a new home anytime soon, you may want to take a hard look at your costs – tariffs being imposed on materials like lumber, steel and aluminum could have a major impact on what you’ll have to spend to build your dream home.

The Indiana Builders Association says it’s getting more expensive to construct houses in central Indiana and many companies are trying to find ways to curb the increasing costs for potential homeowners.

READ | China to put 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of US products | Coca-cola raising soda prices, citing tariffs

Hallmark Homes President and owner Paul Schwinghammer say his workers are using alternative materials, like foam-based products in areas that won’t impact the construction of the house.

“If an average house has maybe $40-$50,000 worth of lumber-based products, a 20 percent increase on the price of that due to a tariff is a significant impact,” said Schwinghammer. “That’s a serious impact. It’s really a tax on new home buyers.”

Rick Wajda with the Indiana Builders Association says most contractors are doing the same thing, to ease the tariff burden while still providing quality work for the home buyers.  

READ | Hoosier farmers brace for soybean tariffs

“When you’re starting to see prices increase on certain products, we understand that the reality is some consumers might be priced out of the market,” said Wajda.

Schwinghammer says local builders want to help keep housing affordable and many of them are lobbying for a change in policy.

“It’s really tough in this environment when we have such high costs of labor and materials, and we’re not going to be able to sustain much longer,” said Schwinghammer.

The Indiana Builders Association says the tariffs are contributing to a large drop in new construction in central Indiana. In June alone, they say the number of single-family home permits fell nearly 10 percent, and they expect to see those numbers continue to go down.

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