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Will Lumber Prices Ever Go Back Down?

Will Lumber Prices Ever Go Back Down?

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

As we transition from winter to spring in the foothills of North Carolina, it is a season of beautiful change. We are thawing out, and the temperatures are fighting to remain comfortable and mild. Flowers and trees are blooming down here in the Yadkin River valley now, and the mountains will soon be springing forth with color as well.

While the scenery is changing, many area residents want to make changes to their homes and properties. However, the price of lumber is giving some people pause as they wait to see whether their projects are going to continue to be priced higher than they would’ve expected just a short time ago. 

Will the price of lumber ever change? Are the high prices here to stay? In this article, we want to help answer those questions, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to continue or delay your next renovation or building project. 

Why Did Lumber Prices Get So High?

To answer whether the prices of boards will ever drop, we need to know how they got so high in the first place. In early 2020, COVID-19 reduced sawmill operations, reducing lumber stockpiles just as demand for houses and lumber soared in the summer. 

Additionally, Family Handyman writes, “issues within the supply chain and ongoing trade disputes with Canada, which serves as a major source of lumber for the United States, have caused the price of wood to skyrocket to the point where lumber now costs more than three times as much as it did in May 2020.”

Factors that Have Contributed to High Lumber Prices

While the pandemic contributed to the rise in lumber prices, it is not wholly responsible. Demand for housing has risen for a number of reasons:

  • Those who fared well financially during and since the pandemic found themselves with expendable income from financial assistance programs and have used it to perform home renovation projects. 
  • Many people have been working remotely and realized they needed to make changes to their living and home-office situations. 
  • Jobs that have gone fully remote have allowed people to move places they really want to be. The result is that places like North Carolina have experienced substantial growth, which has increased the demand for housing. 
  • Other issues related to the supply chain for lumber have exasperated a system experiencing substantial demand. 

According to Robert Bardon, a forestry and environmental professor at NCSU, “These spikes [in lumber prices] that we have seen over the last couple years have been historic. I cannot think of other times in recent history where we have seen such volatility in the market.”

Will we ever experience a reprieve from the exorbitant prices of lumber? 

Lumber Prices Might Be Starting to Fall

Lumber prices are actually starting to fall to an extent, but when will consumers get to reap the benefits? It could be a while, yet, before contractors and homeowners really start to reap the benefits of sawmills catching up with demand and supply chain improvements. Robert Bardon says:

“Lumber prices will settle once demand slows. We will see prices fall with better logistics, but because of logging, the market will never be able to keep pace with rising demand. Prices will come down as we get closer to summer, but there will still be a risk of going back up if demand picks up.”

Essentially, if demand slows as it should and typically does, prices will ease back down. However, if the need for lumber remains historically high, these prices will be here to stay.

How to Get the Best Lumber Prices for Every Project

If you have a project that you want to make sure is delayed no longer, you need to get the best price possible every time. The trees are cut down and transported to a timber plant, where they are processed into lumber. 

After that, the material is either sold to lumber retailers across the country or added to a mill-direct program, where it is held at the mill and sent directly to the end-user.

Work Directly with a Lumber Mill to Get the Best Pricing

Working directly with a mill avoids mill brokers and retail enterprises, which may use dubious practices to acquire the maximum money from their customers, such as supplying low-grade lumber at high-grade prices.

By bypassing the middlemen and buying hardwoods directly, you can save money on your wood goods, making life easier for builders, woodworkers, and others.

In western North Carolina, Church & Church has served Wilkes County and surrounding areas with the highest quality lumber for decades. We have weathered the worst of economic times to continue helping people harvest timber the right way and turning that timber into the lumber needed to build houses and communities.

If you need the best price on high-quality lumber, you can trust the team at Church & Church.