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Lumber prices falling after hitting record highs last summer

While the cost of nearly everything seems to be going up, lumber prices are heading in the opposite direction.
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - While the cost of nearly everything seems to be going up, lumber prices are heading in the opposite direction. The Federal Reserve reported inflation rose to a new 40-year high this week, but lumber prices have fallen after hitting record highs last summer.

Chad Bryan with Southwestern Remodeling said over the past few years, he’s seen a surge in demand unlike anything he’d seen before for homeowners starting new builds or working on home-improvement projects.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen a surge in demand unlike anything I’ve seen in my 20-year career and the 50-year history of the company,” Bryan said.

Homeowners are looking to take advantage of the lower lumber prices, but Bryan said some are choosing to wait.

“I do think there is a sector of, you know, consumers that have kind of waited and played it smart. And you know, they do want to work, or they are thinking about building a home. They’ve played their cards correctly and have waited for raw material prices to go down.”

Bryan said in 2019, he would pay $2 for two-by-four precut stud. Six months ago, he was paying $10.14. While the price isn’t nearly back to the $2 mark, he said the price for a two-by-four is creeping below $8. While he welcomes the falling prices, Bryan said the interest rates are rising to more than offset for the lower cost of lumber.

“Those increases are significant enough, especially in a new housing situation, you know, where there is a very large investment,” Bryan said. “But that will more than offset the decrease in lumber pricing. So it’s almost as if it’s kind of checking, ‘what most would think a decrease in material price would do to the demand.”

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