Softwood lumber shortage alleviated, lower prices; Construction of triangular houses set to increase, builders say

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – A lumber shortage earlier this year pushed up prices, but that shortage is now starting to end, which could be good news for homebuyers in the Triangle.

“We need more and more housing to accommodate the thousands of people who move here every year,” said Paul Kane, executive vice president and CEO of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County.

Kane said that at one point lumber prices rose five times from what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lumber is the primary structural material used in house building, so it plays a big role in cost and plays a big role in house construction,” said Robert Bardon, associate dean of extension. and professor at the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University.

Prices have gotten so high because demand has skyrocketed with people wanting to relocate or work on household projects. Prices also rose rapidly as sawmills closed due to COVID-19 and tariffs were imposed on imported lumber.

Now the supply is catching up, causing prices to drop.

“It’s better than before. It’s still not as good as we would hope, ”Kane said.

The Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County said builders wait until costs come down.

They expect to see construction pick up again, but there are still labor shortages and shortages with other materials, such as some pipes.

“These things are lagging behind because of the supply chain and the issues around COVID,” Bardon said.

“There are so many moving parts impacting the market right now,” Kane said.

Experts said now is the time for people looking to complete house projects or build.

“There isn’t much value to be expected because I don’t think we’re going to see any significant declines in material prices,” Kane said.

They said there would always be some price inconsistency as it all fades away.

Builders in Wake County said they are working to find ways to streamline the building process and cut red tape, so they can build more homes sooner.

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