The sharp decline in the price of construction materials is starting to slow, experts say. However, they note that the shortage of work has boosted competition and pushed prices down. The selling cost of construction is down 10.8% on a year-over-year basis, according to the Turner building cost index, for example. "This is the largest drop in costs for a given year that we have seen in our index since the Great Depression of the 1930s," noted Karl Almstead, the Turner vice president. "Materials prices recently have been fairly level, and labor costs are pretty flat too. It is market conditions that are driving costs down."

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