The lowdown on lumber prices

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 4:08 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Lumber prices are at record highs. COVID is to blame, creating demand for home improvement projects.

Fox Business reports from the lows in April of 2020 to now, lumber futures are up 395 percent.

Lumber has always been a hot commodity at White’s Lumber in Watertown. But since the pandemic started last year, prices have reached record highs.

“A 2x4 would normally run around $3, $3.50. Now they’re up to the $7-8 range,” said Ted White, vice president of White’s Lumber.

How did this happen? Well, when everything shut down in 2020, lumber mills were no exception. But then, demand rose as people were stuck at home.

“People were home instead of working and doing home projects,” said White.

The lumber industry has yet to recover.

“These are record highs no one has ever seen, the industry has never seen,” said White.

It’s not just lumber that’s affected. Shingles, doors, windows - they’re all backed up too. White says it’s the entire building industry.

“Some areas, we’ve had an order out since December and we still done have a ship-to date,” said White.

Even lumber transportation has been backed up.

“At times, some of our suppliers have to call 80 trucking companies to fill one order,” said White.

So if you have a big project in mind, will lumber sales go down anytime soon?

“Right now there’s no sign that it’s going to let up,” said White.

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