RALEIGH, N.C. -- A lumber shortage caused by the pandemic is presenting issues for the housing and construction market here in North Carolina and across the country.
Since March, lumber prices have risen by over 120 percent. Several major lumber mills cut back on their production when COVID-19 first arrived to the U.S., and now it’s causing a headache for many new home owners and their contractors.
“The pressure that it’s putting on local contractors and local lumber yards is that a builder may say, 'I'll build you a house for $300,000.' Well, between the day we sign that contract and the day of closing, lumber costs may have gone up by $40,000. There you are in the middle, and you may have to eat that,” says Paul Kane, Home Builders Association of Wake County CEO.
The months-long quarantine enacted throughout the country resulted in an influx of people starting DIY projects and even feeling the need to upgrade their space by way of a new home.
“With COVID coming in, we were thinking demand was going to be way off and I was starting off right away saying, 'Let's get rid of stuff and not buy new', but it turned out just the opposite. The demand is super strong. We only have this one house left and everything else is under contract or sold, so we're scrambling to get more lots and to build more houses,” says Barney Baxter, President of Medallion Construction.
The shortage does not seem to be going away any time soon, and neither does the need for upgrades.
The pandemic has also led to record sales for home-improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot. Both chains posted quarterly sales up over 20 percent this week.