At the beginning of April, lumber prices in the US reached record lows. In five short months, prices are now at an all-time high–that is, if you can even get your hands on a 2x4. Lumber (futures) has exploded by more than 200% and many general contractors are paying three times the price for standard building materials. This surge in mid-August sent lumber to its most expensive prices ever.
On the surface, many would like to attribute this to a building boom and that the economy is resurging after COVID-19 shutdowns. We hope this to be the case in the near future, however, further investigation and evidence shows this pricing increase to be a direct effect of COVID-19 lockdowns. In short, the lumber industry is experiencing a supply chain problem, though different than the toilet paper shortages earlier this year.
Across the country, COVID-19 lockdowns and workplace restrictions temporarily shut down sawmills and lumber plants that treat wood. The effect is now finally hitting the market, resulting in shortages in nearly every lumberyard. According to US construction spending data, current demand has decreased since the pandemic, demonstrating that the increase in price is directly related to the industry’s supply chain.
Further troubling news is that within the last year, dozens of sawmills have burned down. Fires are somewhat common within lumber manufacturing; however, a lot of these incidents have been ruled sabotage or arson. The culminating effect between fewer operational lumber facilities across the country and forced shutdowns due to COVID-19 have resulted in historical high prices.
There are reasons to be optimistic–few experts believe that this will be a lasting issue. As we learn more about COVID-19, and ways to work and open back up while dealing with it, the lumber industry is no different. It may be a few months out, but the supply chain is expected to catch back up. Also, new trade deals with Canada that loosen forestry restrictions and tariffs may help with immediate need. This is great for the average consumer in the short term, but may have questionable long term effects on the health our nation’s building material industry. We’ll keep you posted.
So, what does this mean for contractors in Colorado Springs? What can homeowners around North Gate or the Broadmoor expect when planning their remodel or renovation? Time. The best advice Alpine Contracting can give our local community is to have patience–perhaps the mantra of this entire pandemic. Your project will get completed, you’ll still be ecstatic with the way your new bathroom turned out, but flexibility when choosing products or materials and allowing time for their delivery will go a long way.
Many of you are in full summer mode, trying to make the best of staycations and exploring the foothills around Woodland Park and Pikes Peak. You’re grilling on the new deck or going out by staying in, perfecting your new outdoor living area. However, the cold months are right around the corner. Now is the time to schedule your basement design and finish. With everyone at home, the extra space will make staying in comfortable and enjoyable this holiday season.
Don’t let the shortages discourage you—be proactive now. While we believe in the resurgence of our country, we don’t know how severe or how long these lumber shortages will last. Right now, we can complete your project in a timely manner. Alpine Contracting will help you design the perfect space to fit your needs, or even addon a home theater to surprise your family. We take pride in rising to this challenge, sourcing lumber at the best current prices and passing that savings on to our customers.