A leading Whanganui kitchen builder says in more than 30 years in the business he has never seen price inflation of materials as high as it has been in the past year.
Gunzzini managing director John Fearn said he had seen as many as eight price rises in the last 12 months for some of the typical materials he used.
He said he now limited quotes to 30 to 60 days because he risked losing money if prices continued to rise as they had been past that timeframe.
"Say we used 30 hinges in a job and they went up, say, seven per cent - that's not a big hit on the kitchen at the end of the day.
"But when you see a benchtop that's normally $3000 or $4000 go up by seven per cent - that's quite a big hit."
Prices had increased anywhere from three to 15 per cent for the total cost of a new kitchen, Fearn said.
The unreliable prices made balancing the books difficult.
"My biggest fear is, until you do your numbers at the end of the year how do you know what the bottom line is when it's all gone up?"
In his career building kitchens since 1989 he hadn't seen anything like the price rises of today, he said.
"We'd get price rises - but not as much in the last two years. We used to get one every two years - and it wouldn't be big. Three or four per cent."
Demand was also high and Fearn said his business was close to being booked out a year ahead.
"The biggest problem we've got at the moment is the co-ordination between ... the builders, the plumbers, the sparkies. If people haven't got those guys lined up, we're secondary.
"We can do replacing a kitchen [in] probably eight to 10 weeks - but right now we've got a three-month lead time for all those jobs."
People were already quickly booking up October and November and Fearn expected Christmas to be chaotic.
It was a big turnaround compared to Whanganui 10 years ago, he said, when people were hesitant to invest in their properties.
"If you put investment into your property [now], you're going to get it back."
When people did go for a renovation back then, they would often scrimp to save money on the job, he said.
"Now they just want it done."
Kitchen Contours owner David Mackay said house prices going up in Whanganui led to a big demand for new and improved kitchens.
"Go back 10 years and house prices were 70 or 80 per cent less than what they are now.
"People [would say] 'I won't spend money on my kitchen because I won't get it back when I sell my house."
Now people were happy to spend "quite a lot of money" improving their kitchen, Mackay said.
Demand was strong for new kitchens, but with the difficulty getting materials throughout the construction industry he expected it to cool.
Builders had to think well in advance in order to deal with delays.
"Now they need to order windows when the concrete slab goes down. Builders are ordering a lot more than what we are."
Terry Lobb, a kitchen designer for 22 years, said there was a lot of work at the moment because there were many new homes being built.
Jobs were not going through as quickly because it could be difficult to get builders and products in.
"Some of the builders are two years out," Lobb said.
"A lot of the people looking at renovating or building have already done that planning."
Her advice for people looking at long delays, or not being able to afford the exact type of kitchen or renovation they wanted, was to wait.
"I'm a believer, too, that if you have set your heart on a product and you can't get it at the time, you wait."
There was a housing shortage in Whanganui, Lobb said, and it was good to see older houses getting much-needed renovations.
"Some renovations have been left for a long time.
"And you've still got to keep up with that sort of thing."