UNAFFORDABLE UTAH

Skyrocketing Lumber Prices Adding Thousands To Construction Projects

Sep 11, 2020, 6:20 PM | Updated: 8:50 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Homeowners looking to make repairs after this week’s severe windstorm are in for some sticker shock when they head to the lumber store.

“It’s increasing exponentially, almost on a weekly basis,” said Mark Burton, director of operations at Burton Lumber.

The price of framing lumber, plywood and roof trusses has skyrocketed during the pandemic, driving up the cost of repairs, remodels and new home construction.

“Between three and five times more expensive than they were even six months ago,” Burton said. “And a lot of it’s because people are at home doing home improvement projects.”

Burton said the escalating price of lumber is hitting homebuilders hard.

“Most of the builders that we deal with are saying that their homes are going up anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000 for just a regular size, single-family home,” he said.

The price of lumber has soared more than 160 percent since April, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. An analysis by the association said the lumber price increase is adding approximately $16,000 to the price of a new home.

“Everybody’s competing for lumber,” said Dejan Eskic, a senior research analyst at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

Eskic said the jump in lumber prices can be blamed on unexpected demand due to DIY projects and new home construction.

“The price of lumber actually went down in April,” he said. “Nobody expected the demand to be so high, so they just can’t keep up.”

Historically, low interest rates, pent-up demand and Utah’s ongoing housing shortage have resulted in an ultra-competitive housing market, Eskic explained, with new housing developments selling out quickly.

“The decline in existing for-sale inventory has led buyers to shop for new-build construction,” Eskic said in his latest research brief.

The National Association of Homebuilders also blames the surging prices on lumber mills reducing production at the start of the pandemic to obey health protocols, and because they anticipated that demand would drop.

“But housing weathered the storm much better than was predicted, and demand for lumber has accelerated,” the association said.

“There are a few things that really drive prices and they’ve been hitting on all cylinders this year,” Burton said.

Burton said that those looking to complete home improvement projects might benefit from waiting for lumber prices to calm down.

“If it’s something that they could put off until spring, I think that there’s a good chance that prices are going to be significantly less in the springtime than they are now,” Burton said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Unaffordable Utah

County leaders broke ground Friday to transform two public housing buildings into modern affordable...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Work begins on 300 affordable housing units for Salt Lake seniors

Salt Lake County made a big move Friday to preserve and improve nearly 300 affordable housing units for seniors.
1 month ago
...
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Home valuations jump dramatically, but watchdog group says to expect modest increase in property taxes

Assessors across Utah are finishing up home valuations for upcoming property tax notices, and two counties are already reporting big increases in values.
2 months ago
Utah's hot housing market...
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Utah housing expert predicts pullback in activity because of mortgage rates

An expert in Utah’s housing market expects that rising mortgage rates will cause a pullback in real estate activity and a slowdown in home price increases.
2 months ago
...
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

SLC neighborhood townhall raises questions over Affordable Housing Incentives proposal

Thursday night, concerns arose at a community townhall in a Salt Lake City neighborhood over an affordable housing incentives proposal, that some worry is deeply flawed.
2 months ago
...
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Unaffordable Utah: Budget-friendly family summer fun

After two summers of pandemic restrictions, Utah families are itching to have some fun. If inflation, gas prices, and sky-high plane tickets are taxing your budget, don't worry! KSL has the solutions.
3 months ago
...
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

National home builder confidence drops to two-year low

For the fifth straight month, national home builder confidence fell, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Skyrocketing Lumber Prices Adding Thousands To Construction Projects