HENRIETTA, NY (WROC) – The pandemic has affected many things: the price of gasoline, simple foods, and now wood.
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As the weather warms up, homeowners turn to construction projects like repairing the roof, building a shed, or adding a porch. However, a nationwide price hike for lumber will affect these plans. Experts say they will take longer and be more expensive.
Scott Fields, President and General Manager of Matthew and Fields Lumber, says they are usually busy during the spring. But this year he’s never seen anything like it. “We roughly doubled when prices were about a year ago before COVID.”
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Fields says the demand there. People want to go outside and start new projects after a long winter and several months of being cooped up by the pandemic inside. However, he says that supply is the main problem. “The mills are unable to reach their full capacity due to COVID reasons, social distancing and the fact that sick people are unable to get people back from layoffs each year,” he said.
There is also less supply after a Canadian tariff on wood was introduced due to the pandemic. The US gets a lot of wood from across the border.
Fields says they are slowly getting the workforce back, but it will be a few more months.
The border between the US and Canada is closed until at least April 21st
The experts say you should start these projects early so you can negotiate prices before they go up any further.
Rick Herman, CEO of the Rochester Home Builder’s Association, says it’s important to keep this in mind when you start home projects this spring. “A deck that might have cost $ 3,000 in the past could cost $ 4,000 for the wood this year,” he said.
The same goes for houses. A new one could cost up to $ 30,000 more depending on the size. Herman says he’s never seen anything like it in his 25-year career. He says that with the pandemic, there is also less inventory of pre-existing homes. As a result, more people are actually ready to buy new products and ready to wait, important pluses for the industry.
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“Buyers get more money because demand is so high and inventory is so low that things can balance and balance,” Herman said.