Recently one of my clients on Tweed Boulevard in Nyack had to repair a retaining wall made out of pressure treated railroad ties. The first thing the contractor said was that railroad ties prices had gotten very expensive. I just experienced a similar situation as I want to replace my old stockade fence in backyard, and was also told that cedar fence supplies were non existent. This local fence company was looking at Japanese Cedar fence and it was going to be expensive. This rise in pricing is having a major impact on home construction and renovation.
There are several reasons for the rising price of lumber. Last year’s shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic caused a delay in production of building materials, which meant less lumber on the market.
Ironically due to so many closures more people had free time on their hands. This led to more hobbyist projects and home improvement projects, meaning more people building decks, sheds and practicing their woodworking skills.
On top of this, due to people spending more time at home, more people are looking for bigger homes. Because of the lockdown last spring, construction slowed to a halt. When construction started up again, home buying season was in full tilt. This lag in construction combined with increased demand has had contractors playing catch-up. With growing new-home construction comes more demand for materials.
Put these three together and you have a recipe for short supply and strong demand. Even with lumber production hitting a 13-year-high, supply is too low to meet demand. You don’t need a degree in supply chain dynamics to know that this means prices are going up. Prices going up is a euphemism for skyrocketing.
I think my new fence may have to wait as we wait for supply to catch up to demand, and I think many homeowners and landlords will think twice about renovations and improvements. On one really knows when prices will stabilize or possibly return to normal so I cancel a wait and see attitude.