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Building costs could spike amid tariffs

Posted at 5:54 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 09:13:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A trickle-down effect from international trade wars has the potential to hit local homeowners hard in the pocketbook.

Construction crews warn remodeling or building a new house could cost more, perhaps significantly more, in the coming months because of tariffs announced by President Trump.

Earlier this year, the White House announced $200 billion in new tariffs on China, which could impact the price of more than 6,000 goods, including many common in U.S. households.

“My light-fixture supplier approached me and said somewhere between 15 to 20 percent is what they are looking at price-increase-wise and for us," President of Ashland Homes Shawn Woods said. "That’s about $500 a house just in the light fixtures."

The increased cost impacts Woods’ bottom line.

“We’re already struggling with affordability of houses as it is, so that is just going to compound that affect,” Woods said.

One of the biggest items impacted by the tariffs is quartz.

Leslie Erickson owns Carthage Stoneworks and she's been getting a lot of calls from her suppliers.

“It’s definitely a concern, but it’s also kind of a wait-and-see thing too because there are a lot of unknowns,” Carthage said.

Erickson said her suppliers are looking for alternatives to Chinese quartz in hopes of controlling prices.

Still, the industry-wide cost increase would be $2.5 billion, according to the National Association of Homebuilders,

One tip to avoid increased costs: buy now.

“It’s going to make houses that are currently under construction more affordable than those being built in the future,” Woods said.

A 10-percent tariff went into effect last month, but it jumps to 25 percent for most goods on the list Jan. 1, 2019.