My wife and I have wanted a new deck since the start of the pandemic. But after receiving a few bids, and comparing lumber prices, we decided to hold off until prices drop
They say the prices are going down but it’s been three years… and bids are still crazy high! Any hope lumber prices will drop down to pre-pandemic costs? Or is a deck just going to cost an arm and a leg from now on?
Jerry from Tamaqua, PA
Jerry, thanks for reaching out.
Unfortunately, it’s not just lumber. These post-pandemic prices have affected the cost of everything in construction- lumber, windows, asphalt roof shingles, fasteners. You name it and the supply has been affected.
Even garage doors are hard to come by according to this New York Times article. Everything comes down to supply and demand. The demand went up while everyone was stuck at home- but supply has yet to level out completely.
It sounds like you’ve read through multiple project bids, all of which exceeded your expectations. I know this process can seem discouraging.
As someone who works in carpentry? These prices make me uncomfortable, too. The last couple of years have been a wild ride from the business side of things. We’ve had to learn the hard way to make sure we’re charging enough for materials and labor when we send out a bid.
The good news- there is hope for pre-pandemic construction costs.
But before we talk about projected cost of lumber, let’s take a look at why the prices went so high to begin with.
Pandemic, Wildfires, and Labor Shortages (Oh My!)
First the toilet paper shortage, next the lumber, right? In truth, Covid-19 led to shortages in every industry. Food, electronics, even bicycles experienced a delay in supply.
However, Covid complications aren’t the only factor at play when discussing the lumber prices. Three of North America’s largest lumber suppliers are located in British Columbia, (Western Canada.) In summer of 2021, this large stretch of lumber acreage saw 375 wildfires.
And here in the United States, our lumber supply took a hit, too. In the same year, Washington and Oregon lost over one million acres of land to wildfires.
And what didn’t burn? We weren’t able to fully harvest on time. Cue the labor shortages.
2021 saw a record low in lumber production, but a record high in new home builds. That year, there were 1.601 million new homes built! That many new homes hadn’t been built in a single year since 2006.
All these factors combined created the perfect storm for escalated prices. So just how bad were lumber prices? In May 2021, prices reached $1,500 per thousand board feet- three times the pre-pandemic price.
But as Newton says, what comes up, must come back down.
Lumber Prices Expected to Drop
Just like our now-stocked grocery shelves- things are slowly returning to normal in the lumber yard.
Last month, costs dropped to $780 per thousand board feet. Compared to the Pandemic high of $1,500? That’s a great sign.
While I can’t guarantee the same prices as circa 2019, I can say with certainty these costs are evening back out. More so, I can promise when you work with our team, we provide the best prices and materials for our clients.
Jerry, you sound discouraged. I get that. But with prices reaching a leveling point and summer just getting started? Now might be the best time to start construction. I’d love to give you a quote for your new project, and work with you to design your family’s dream deck.
We guarantee any quote you receive for 30 days so there’s no rush to make a decision. Give us a call at 570-345-0436 to start the conversation.
Until next time,