Lumber shortage easing, prices dropping; Triangle home construction likely to increase, builders say

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A lumber shortage earlier this year caused prices to climb, but that shortage is now starting to come to an end, which could be good news for homebuyers in the Triangle.

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

Kane said at one point, lumber prices jumped five times what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lumber’s the major framing material used for building homes, so it does play a big part in the cost and plays a big part in getting homes constructed,” said Robert Bardon, associate dean for extension and professor with the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University.

Prices got so high because demand spiked with people wanting to move or work on home projects. Prices also rose quickly because sawmills had shut down due to COVID-19 and tariffs were put on imported wood.

Now, the supply’s catching up, causing prices to come down.

“It’s better than it was. It’s still not as good as we hope it will be,” said Kane.

The Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County said builders were holding off until the costs dropped.

They expect to see construction pick back up, but there are still labor shortages and shortages with other materials, like certain pipes.

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

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

Experts said now’s a good time for people looking to do home projects or looking to build.

“There’s no great value in waiting because I don’t think we’re going to see significant drops in material pricing,” said Kane.

They said there will still be some inconsistency with prices though as it all evens back out.

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

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