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Lumber prices and demand skyrocket during pandemic

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:09 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The cost of lumber during the pandemic is skyrocketing and prices are at least double if not triple what they normally are.

Given the high prices, demand is also up for lumber.

As lumber prices are through the roof due to COVID-19, demand is high for now but as prices stay high, homeowners may begin to ease off on building until demand and prices are back to normal.

“Production is up, but production cannot meet demand,” Modern Builders and Suppliers Owner Tim Witzeling said.

As COVID hit in early 2020, two by fours and two by sixes began flying off the shelves, so places like Modern Builders and Suppliers in Wausau can’t keep up with demand.

“We have more projects than we have physical product available for, we’ve been managing to pull it out and find it, but you spend a vast majority of your day just trying to find the product,” Witzeling said.

At the start of the pandemic, demand for lumber was largely underestimated by national manufacturers and now everyone is paying for it.

“The increases are primarily in wood products, lumbers and, sheet goods. On average my thought is that we’re adding about $20,000 at the end of the price of a new home,” Witzeling said.

Witzeling said despite the climbing lumber prices, people are wanting to work on home projects or build new homes since interest rates are also at an all-time low.

“Despite the costs, people are still calling, they’re still wanting to do work, they’re wanting to spend the money which is very positive I would say, I was a little worried that we’d have the bottom fall out already,” Niziolek Builders Contractor Eric Niziolek said.

Now the key is for loggers to produce enough lumber before it’s too late so homeowners and builders aren’t left stumped.

“It definitely changes the way you got to think about things and more so ordering things is taking longer, you’ve got to make sure you’re ahead of the game with all that stuff, so you don’t have delays in the future,” Niziolek said.

Although the demand is remaining high, builders and suppliers hope prices will come back down by the spring of 2021.

Witzeling said the best way for prices to go back down is for a less harsh winter season and for people to back off on demand for lumber.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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