Home Improvement Woes: Why is Lumber So Expensive Right Now?

If you’ve done any type of home improvement project lately, you’re likely aware that lumber prices are ridiculously expensive right now. In fact, they’ve more than doubled since June of last year! Why are wood prices increasing and will they ever return to their more affordable price point? Let’s find out. 

Why Have Lumber Prices Gone Up? 

In late 2019/early 2020, the demand for lumber was on the low side and inventories were down across the board. Then the pandemic started, and this left people unsure of what would happen to the economy. Not only did dealers and producers cut back, but also lumber mills shut down. 

Around the same time, DIY and home improvement spending soared. Many people were working from home or working fewer hours, so they were able to tackle projects around the house. The stimulus money also helped make these projects a reality for many American families. 

What are the Current Prices for Lumber? 

The latest numbers from Nasdaq show lumber prices at $1,500 for 1,000 board feet. Wood production is high and trying to catch up with demand but we might not see prices come down for quite a while. Currently, wood prices are up as much as 200 percent! 

If you’re planning on building a custom home in Los Angeles, you may be unsure of how to proceed. Do you move forward with your original plans? Do you try to cut back on wood? One thing is for certain: you can expect to pay more. 

This CNBC article reports that soaring lumber prices can add up to $36,000 to the average price of a new, single-family home. And it’s not just wood that’s at all-time-highs but other building materials as well. Drywall is up nearly 7 percent from a year ago and steel mill product prices are up 18 percent. 

So how are people moving forward with these projects? Well, you have a few options.  

How to Manage the Cost of Lumber for Your Building Project 

With more people working from home, enjoying more flexible hours and receiving stimulus checks, home improvement spending is on the rise. If you’re finally in a position to tackle some long-awaited projects, you do have options to stay on budget. 

  • Downsize overall square footage
  • Choose a simpler design – nothing complicated 
  • Opt for more affordable finish materials such as plastic or metal 
  • Use recycled wood
  • Shop around for the best deals 
  • Build an addition instead of a new home

Kavin Construction is a premier residential contractor serving Los Angeles and the surrounding suburbs. As a family owned business, we are hands-on and work closely with our clients. We also practice honesty and transparency in everything we do. Contact us today for a free estimate on your project.