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  • Why is the Cost of Lumber so High?

    Published June 7th 2021 at 12:00am

    If you have tried to start a new project lately, like that summer-time deck, then you've likely seen lumber prices soar out of control. As of June 2021, lumber was still priced at $1,300 per thousand board feet. Although this is down slightly from the peak high in May of $1700, this is still several times higher than the pre-pandemic numbers. The main factors that have affected wood prices are demand and staffing shortages. 

    Staying Home

    When COVID-19 hit, people were forced to stay home. Some states required full lockdowns and other businesses began letting employees work remotely. Once people stopped commuting to their 40 plus hour work weeks, they began to have an increased amount of time on their hands. They now had the time to build the deck they had been meaning to get around to. Or to remodel that kitchen that looked like it was straight out of 1975. Now you suddenly had an increased number of customers buying lumber for their private use. 

    Not Enough Staff

    During the pandemic, factories and production lines were forced to adopt safety guidelines. This meant fewer people working during a shift to comply with things like social distancing regulations. This caused production to slow and some people were laid off temporarily. Other production locations were even required to temporarily close due to safety concerns. This began to create a shortage in the lumber supply chain.

    Once people were out of work, they began drawing unemployment. Instead of getting the minimum unemployment benefits, people also began receiving a $300 bonus in addition to their weekly payout. In some states, they also got an additional bonus on top of the federal $300 bonus. This meant that a lot of people were now getting paid more than they made at their job.

    This resulted in a lot of people choosing to remain unemployed instead of returning to work. Some also felt the risk of contracting COVID-19 was just too high and wanted to wait until things improved. Without enough workers, production wasn't able to keep up with the lumber demand. Since lumber was now short, this caused prices to soar. 

    Will Prices Come Down?

    While the cost of lumber has decreased since May, it is still much higher than pre-pandemic prices. After a supply chain is disrupted, it can take a long time for producers to catch back up and prices will likely stay elevated until they do. Fed up, organizations like the National Association of Home Builders have reached out to the Biden Administration and other government officials demanding action. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with the group and promised to take the issue seriously. 

    While we hope prices will come back down, all we can do now is wait and see. Are you ready to start your own business in this high-demand field? Please contact us today so that the Arizona Contractor Center can get you on the path to success. 

    Comments

    Posted By: ChristineEdited by an admin

    it would be nice if lumber prices would come down so I can build a custom playground for my kids!

    Posted On: 2021-06-22 20:34:20

    Posted By: ScottEdited by an admin

    I have a friend that works at a sawmill in Northern Idaho and he said they quit accepting logs because of the lack of storage space for finished lumber! They are lying to everyone about shortages!!!

    Posted On: 2021-07-08 18:19:08

    Posted By: Ben

    I’m electrical contractor back 2004 I used to buy AWG14x2x250’ for $14 only on 2008 another stupid roller coaster the same roll of wire jumps up to $38 and today it’s almost $150, ok what is all the BS behind this? It’s pandemic and almost more the people were laid off or working from home now we’re still in that disaster pandemic but with same amount of money with everything not only a lumbar or electrical materials but everything and how can people will go back to normal life and start spending money to do a small project or to work and have the consumer paid for it?? It’s very bad for the country in order to go back to normal life because some rich it becomes richer and the poor became poorer.

    Posted On: 2021-07-08 23:19:02

    Posted By: Wayne

    I poured my slab and when I went to by materials to frame my porch and now I can’t afford it. I hope and pray that prices get back to normal so I can take down my getto tarp roof and build my porch.

    Posted On: 2021-07-09 02:20:47

    Posted By: RandyEdited by an admin

    Paraphrasing here, but as Sheik Adnon El Kassie used to say in the '80s on AWA's All Star wrestling.....Its another American "politician" double A cross....my word in parenthesis. Yes it is Sheik. Yes it is.....

    Posted On: 2021-07-11 23:41:25

    Posted By: Jeff

    The lumber mills in the Northwestern states are choking on their own inventory. They are saying the problem is getting it trucked out. Nobody wants to deadhead to those states to bring a load of wood back.

    Posted On: 2021-07-12 17:20:13