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If you’ve made any attempt to buy lumber or plywood for a building project, you’ve likely noticed how expensive those materials have become in the past year. Whereas plywood used to sit around $20 per unit, it has now risen to over three times that price. Lumber has also seen a dramatic increase since the pandemic began. Why is this the case? What could cause such a rise in costs when more people were staying at home than ever before?

Remodeling Projects

One of the biggest reasons for the spike in prices lies in the fact that, with more time on their hands at home, many people were going out and buying lumber for home projects. Whether it was finally building that backyard deck that had been on the to-do list for a while or building a shed to store equipment in or building a man cave or she-shed for added comfort, individuals have been taking advantage of the added time at home.

More Building

Another reason for the increase in lumber and plywood comes from the increase in individuals and families looking to buy or build a home. Entire sections of the United States are experiencing what is known as a seller’s market, where there is a higher demand for homes than there is supply. As people tried to navigate through the pandemic during 2020, the summer brought a dramatic increase in people seeking to move away from big city apartments and out into the suburbs and wilderness away from giant crowds. Combine home projects with massive migration throughout the country, and you have a dramatic surge in demand for materials to build those homes.

Related: How to Avoid Common Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes


Next, the economy has also played a critical role in today’s shortages. The lack of truck drivers and delivery drivers to get the materials into stores so people can buy them creates a new challenge: demand is higher than supply. Fortunately, more people are getting back to work with the easing of restrictions nationwide and the ending of partial unemployment checks related to COVID; however, there is still work to do to get prices back to pre-COVID levels.

The good news, however, is that prices will likely begin to fall as demand goes down. The more people navigate to their new homes and complete their building projects, the less lumber and plywood they will need. Hopefully, by 2023, the prices will largely be back to a more stable rate!

Need help with costs or labor when remodeling? Give us a call. We are your remodeling expert in the Portland area.


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