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Lumber industry businesses yet to feel effects of declining prices

Posted at 11:26 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 23:26:47-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Finally, some good news after watching prices of all kind of supplies rise higher and higher during the pandemic.

Prices of lumber are finally starting to drop. The impact of the record prices has been significant on everything from small home improvement projects to complete home builds.

“This is going to shut the middle class and everybody below out of the housing market, which is a crime.”

Marion Briggs is with Sun Country Homes and Realty. She’s been building homes throughout her life and has not once seen the amount of demand in lumber or new housing as there is now.

“Demand for housing is very high right now, whether it’s new construction or existing homes the demand is very high," says Briggs. "That always creates some kind of rise in the market and we’re seeing that now. But lumber has just skyrocketed.”

According to industry leaders, lumber began seeing an increase in prices prior to the pandemic. Mills cut back on production, thinking demand would be low. However, with more people at home, more began working on DIY projects causing a spike.

Now, for the good news, the Wall Street Journal reports lumber prices are falling fast. They are down more than 40% since May. That is welcome news for Briggs, who did her best to plan around the pandemic lumber prices.

“As a builder, it’s very hard to predict where we’re going because it takes such a long time to get a permit and to build a home it takes six months. You’re looking at a year’s process, perhaps, so it’s hard to predict what the prices are going to be when you actually need the product.”

We're still watching to see if supply catches up to demand for several other commodities.

“I’ve been waiting for several weeks for garage doors," said Briggs. "Looking at this, this probably has to do with getting materials from other countries. Perhaps, namely, one of them being China.”

Industry leaders say don't get too comfortable, even when you start to see price reductions. They say the market is too unsteady to really get a read.

Said Briggs, “We have to figure a way out of this for that section of the population or we aren’t going to have the ability to service the people that want to move here.”