Pandemic pushes lumber prices higher

stack of square wood planks for construction in warehouse

LBM Journal– Rising demand stemming from a surge of do-it-yourself projects from consumers working at home coupled with restricted supply due to lumber mills operating at a diminished capacity have led to a recent upsurge in lumber prices, reports the National Association of Home Builders. The latest Random Lengths Framing Composite Price for the week ending May 15 rose by 6.3% to $406 per thousand board feet — the first time the index topped $400 since March 20, 2020.

Framing lumber prices have increased 13% since May 1 — the largest two-week increase in over a decade and the first increase greater than 10% since the start of the U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Dispute in early 2017.

This recent increase in lumber prices comes at a time when the government reported backward-looking data that shows building material prices posted a record decline in April — during the height of the pandemic and before many states rescinded stay-at-home orders and began phased re-openings of local economies.

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