Lumber prices have been on the rise since 2020 when the pandemic struck and sent many countries into lockdown. As more people are spending time at home and needing a home that meets their needs, there has been an increase in demand. With a lack of supply, the industry is struggling, and prices have tripled and even quadrupled in some instances. These record lumber prices are adding thousands of dollars to the costs of building new homes, as the customers are the ones left to stand the costs at the end of the day.
The Ministry of Forests, lands, Natural Resources Operations and Rural Development has a weekly forest product database with information tracking prices. In mid-September of 2020, a basic spruce, pine and fir 2×4 cost $960 USD per thousand board feet. In 2019, the annual average for the same was approximately $372 USD.
President of the B. C Council of Forest Industries, Susan Yurkovich, notes that across the province, a number of lumber mills had closed down in the early parts of the pandemic. And this is what causes a lot of the pressure on supply.
Effects on the House Construction Industry
The house construction industry is still holding on and doing well. People are spending money on their houses as they start to remodel their homes, make repairs, etc., as they are spending more time at home and need their home to meet different needs now. Equally, people are looking for new houses as their needs change, and they need their homes to be equipped to meet the needs of working from home, homeschooling, etc.
This has caused an increase in demand in an industry that is already lagging in providing for the previous demand. While it will definitely take some time for inventories to refill, we are looking to the fall when there is typically a reduction in demand as the province heads into winter. Hopefully at this time, the supply can catch up and prices can fall.
Current New Home Prices – Highest in the Past 3 Years
With low supply and increased prices, building materials are hard to source. Either because they really aren’t available, or the prices are so high. The cost of new homes has increased more than the last three years in just one month due to the high prices of building materials brought on by the pandemic.
Statistics Canada reported their New House Price Index shows an increase for newly-built homes. Since May 2017, there has been an increase, but this has been the biggest one seen.
The Pandemic and House Prices
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a very big impact on the Canadian housing market on a whole. It initially brought reselling to a halt. Demand came back slowly, and sales rose, with many homes starting to sell way above asking. The demand then started spilling into the new house market, and so the demand for wood, drywall, tubing and wiring has risen.
Because many places have physical distancing measures in place, many people have diverted their summer vacation savings towards home improvements, renovations, and finding a house that will meet their new needs better.
Suburban areas with room for new builds are seeing a high amount of demand. New house prices have risen by 1.8% each month. For 2020, the index was up 2.1%, which is the highest it has been in two years.
What Will High Lumber Prices Cause?
Data agencies expect a record high of lumber prices this year that will increase the cost of a single family home between $5000 and $10,000. Because of the increase in home demand, there is expected to be an increase in lumber and other building related supply prices.
Here at SilverBeam Homes, we try our best to keep costs down, while still providing customers with top quality houses and workmanship. How much house can you afford? Get in touch with us and let us give you a quote.