Rising lumber costs explode the tab on new home construction, DIY projects in Colorado
Market experts say the cost of lumber — measured in 1,000-foot increments — has tripled or more since last year, an unprecedented demand exacerbated by low inventory caused by the pandemic and a dim view of any improvement.
“When the restrictions of the pandemic kicked into gear, in April and May last year, the sawmills saw what was happening, with whole sectors of the economy on pause, and they assumed the worst, flashing back to the crisis of 2005 through 2009,” said Dustin Jalbert, an economist who specializes in the softwood lumber market at Fastmarkets, an international commodity price reporter with offices in Massachusetts.
The mills “curtailed and cut production heavily, furloughed employees, and the slowdown in demand that was expected never happened,” he said. “We all expected there would be a cooling in the cost of new homes, the cost of renovation projects with higher contractor quotes. But we’ve just not seen it in the market and it’s nonstop.”