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Contractor: Same project that cost $2,300 in the spring, now goes for $8,300 By Ken Sturtz Plumbing supplies line the wall. Hardware store owners have struggled to keep imported items, such as plumbing accessories, in stock. In the spring Joe Spereno furnished an estimate for a woman who wanted a deck built on her house; material costs: $2,300. Three months later, when the woman decided to go ahead with the job, he tallied up the new price for materials: $8,300. “It was insane,” Spereno says. “I told her ‘You should obviously wait and let’s hope everything goes back down.’” Throughout the year hardware stores, homeowners and contractors have been forced to contend with widespread shortages of many types of building materials and hardware and skyrocketing prices for other items, such as pressure-treated lumber. Typically, when hardware or building material prices fluctuate so dramatically it’s due to a specific issue related to supply or demand, says David Logan, a senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders. “This pandemic has kind of induced the perfect storm of double-sided negative effects on both the supply and demand sides,” he says. Earlier this year the pandemic forced many people to work from