Wood costs are still high, as is the demand for houses

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ROANOKE, Virginia (AP) – Lumber prices have started to drop in recent weeks. But the product is still significantly more expensive than before the pandemic.

The Roanoke Times reported on Saturday that lumber prices had climbed more than 300% since April 2020.

Lumber was selling for around $ 350 per thousand board feet before the pandemic. The price peaked at around $ 1,500 per thousand board feet in May.

And yet, demand is still strong.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Home Builders Association, said people were able to save more money and use it for a down payment on a house.


Building permits for single-family homes rose 13% in Virginia in 2020. Dietz said growth is expected to continue this year. But he said rising interest rates would likely slow home sales at some point in the future.

The National Association of Home Builders estimates that rising lumber costs add an additional $ 36,000 to the average new single-family home.

People in the construction industry say that there are a number of factors at play. There has been a wave of new construction and renovations. At the same time, there has been a drop in production at factories due to the pandemic. On top of that, there were tariffs on Canadian lumber.

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