Because of a change in surveying techniques combined with lower land prices and profit-taking, the percentage of a typical single-family home's price attributable to building materials, lot preparation, and building permits rose to 58.9% in 2009, the highest percentage in 15 years, the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) latest Construction Cost Survey indicates.

At the same time, the share of total costs accounted for by various building materials has remained fairly consistent over the past decade, with two exceptions: the percentage of home costs devoted to framing, trusses, and windows has dropped, while the share for roof shingles and siding have increased. Changes in raw materials prices are the likely culprits for both sets of changes, the association said.

NAHB's Paul Emrath, who wrote the summary, said the association based its conclusions on a survey of 54 builders nationwide. The average home they constructed in 2009 contained 2,716 square feet, was on a lot that filled just over half an acre, and sold for $222,511.Of that total price, 58.9% went to building materials, lot preparation, and permit fees. That's up sharply from 2007's 48.1% share.