MASON CITY, Iowa - During the pandemic, many folks took advantage of being homebound by engaging in DIY home repairs, whether adding a garden, painting a room or two, redoing carpets, put up new siding, or adding on an addition to the home. A year later, prices on lumber have skyrocketed, and it's likely that increase will continue.
According to the Builders Association of Minnesota, the price of lumber is up nearly 200% from a year ago. Because of that lumber price jump, a report from the National Association of Home Builders shows that the average price of a single-family home increased by about $24,000 since last April. For the cost of 2 x 4's, the May futures contract price jumped to $1,100 per thousand board feet. Outside of lumber, the cost of materials like metal and drywall have also increased, while availability has become scarce.
Mason City contractor Larry Elwood has been in the construction and home improvement business for over four decades. He cites the pandemic shutting down mills and cutting back on production, as well as high demand, for the increase.
"Canada is supplying a lot, they've almost got to the point of where their sanctioned numbers are for bringing lumber, which drives up the price. Demand is good, we've got hot states like Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota. It's crazy. Heritage Homes has really gone nuts in those three areas."
With a hot housing market and low interest rates, he feels the market in our area will be a bit slower compared to other areas.
"We just got used to the fact that you can borrow money for almost nothing. Now, we're going to have to pay more, except the interest is still lucrative that makes a lot more of those things happen. We're going to probably find ourselves doing more remodels, siding, windows, of that nature. We're still talking to people about new construction and helping them through that process to get them the numbers and see if it works for them. We have our fingers crossed in what's going to happen, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure if it comes our way, we do our best to make it happen."
The NAHB and several other development organizations sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo about the nation's wood woes. The letter calls on the federal government to look into the issue and find a solution, since construction is fueling an economic recovery.
According to the Federal Reserve Board, production output of wood products is the highest it's been since 2007.