State of the Inustry: The 2020 Lumber Shortage

By Karah Hawkinson, Social Media Coordinator

2020 has been an unprecidented year in many ways. From wildfires to hurricanes, a viral pandemic to race riots – it’s been a lot. The ripple effect from this year’s events will be felt for a long time to come.

The lumber industry has been impacted by those ripples already. Like dominos, one event tapped another and another. First, virus shutdowns cut back production at lumber mills. With domestic sources limited, people began looking for imported lumber. But high tariffs on Canadian lumber led to dramatic price increases. Throw in demand caused by low interest rates on mortgages, a new appreciation for home and home improvements as people were forced to work and learn from home, and a trend of urban-dwellers seeking to move to the suburbs, and it’s been a lot of pressure on the system!

On the upside, there is no lack of work for builders and remodelers. On the downside, materials can be hard to come by, and lumber prices are up. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “the composite price of lumber, per Random Lengths, has soared more than 160%. This surge is adding approximately $16,000 the price of a new single-family home and more than $6,000 to the average new apartment.” (National Economic Council Hears NAHB Concerns on Lumber)

For suppliers like Country Lumber, it’s been disheartening to tell our customers that there are some things we just can’t get (at least not quickly). Our staff has been scrambling every day to track down lumber for new construction, additions, and decks. Rest assured that we are fighting right alongside our customers to get you the materials you need, and at the best prices we can find.

In the meantime, there are other products and projects. Windows, interior trim, doors, maintenance-free decking, siding, and roofing materials are available (many items in-stock and ready for delivery!). If you’re a homeowner, consider making these improvements. The real estate market is hot right now (a consequence of high demand, low interest rates, and limited availability in new construction), and we’re all spending more time than ever at home, so it’s a good time to invest in your property.

As we walk through this new phase of 2020, it is our hope that you and yours are safe and healthy. We appreciate the opportunity to serve homeowners, builders, and remodelers in these challenging times, and we look forward to easier days ahead!