ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Increased prices for lumber have driven up the cost to build a new house, and the cost of renovations. People getting ready to start on those home improvements may find higher prices. They may also find themselves waiting for materials needed for larger projects.
Lumber supplies are good but prices are between 20-30% higher than last year, according to Director of Purchasing at Curtis Lumber, Rory Patterson. But there are long lead times for things like windows, cabinets, and garage doors, which means people need to really plan ahead.
Homeowners who need a new roof or are planning on getting their roofs redone this year shouldn’t wait, said Director of Sales for Pinnacle Roofing Company, Alex Scheidelman. He is encouraging his customers to at least make a down payment which would allow Pinnacle to pre-buy materials, locking in the price.
Before 2021 Scheidelman, who’s spent years involved in the trade, said there would be an annual increase for the type of shingles used at Pinnacle. In less than two years there have been five increases. Three in 2021 and one increase for 2022 with another on the way in April, he said.
Shingles are made from asphalt, a product made by oil companies. Because oil companies have been focused on producing more gas, there has been less asphalt production affecting the supply of shingles. Schneidelman said he’s not worried yet but is concerned about what the rest of 2022 into 2023 will look like and whether supplies will become increasingly harder to get.
The price of lumber alone has made the cost of building a new home approximately $18,600 more, said the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The organization said they are working with government officials on the issue.
“NAHB has been relentlessly working on all fronts with government officials to develop long-term solutions to lumber and supply-chain challenges that threaten housing affordability across the nation,” the organization said on its website.
Driving up the cost of lumber is increased gas prices resulting in higher freight rates and fuel surcharges, low production because of winter weather, and demand from home builders. Cost is also being affected by railroad companies not supplying enough empty cars to mills and record rainfall in British Columbia, Canada said, Patterson.
The U.S. imports billions of dollars worth of softwood lumber from Canada, according to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. So much lumber comes from Canada that it accounts for 83% of the cost of all imported lumber.
Schneidelman said he doesn’t expect the price of materials to go down in the foreseeable future. As far as lumber prices go, “Supply & demand will dictate whether prices continue to climb or start to pull back,” Patterson said.