Cost of lumber is on the rise; some say they’ve never seen anything like it before

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Published: Apr. 24, 2021 at 7:37 PM AKDT
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Those with home improvement projects in mind that require purchasing lumber should be prepared for some sticker shock. The cost of lumber has been on the rise for months, with prices increasing every few weeks.

Scott Maruskie is the general manager of Uresco Construction Materials in South Anchorage.

“It’s something that no one in the lumber industry has ever seen before,” Maruskie said. “I was pulling up some numbers and for a two-by-four or two-by-six, (and) the price was four times higher than it was last year at this time.”

Maruskie said the issue is one of supply and demand. Low mortgage rates have sparked a building frenzy across the U.S. and mills that were shuttered because of COVID-19 have had a hard time keeping up.

“Plants shut down, mills shut down, they weren’t logging so the supply got low,” he said. “Then, when it picked back up and people started building again, the plants couldn’t get rolling. They couldn’t keep up with demand, because everyone started building.”

Eric Visser, president of the Anchorage Home Builders Association, said the rising cost of lumber is also affecting the price of new homes. Visser said lumber costs to build an average house are $20,000 to $25,000 higher than they were last year at this time.

Visser said there’s no real end in sight. While some are predicting lumber costs will drop at the end of the summer, Visser said he was told it could be another 12 to 18 months, provided interest rates stay low.

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