Lumber back down to pre-pandemic prices

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – This time last year lumber prices were literally through the roof. Since then, prices have not only dropped, but remain stable. Good news for new home buyers, and all you “Do-It-Yourselfers” out there.

News10NBC not only has the numbers, but we explain what building materials have gone up in price lately.

Lumber dropped from $1,600 per thousand board feet down to around $400 for the same length.

“It’s back to what we consider normal, and seasonally we typically see an increase as we get into the busier construction season. Not just locally, but around the country,” says Pride Mark Homes President, Jim Barbato.

Barbato tells News10NBC not only that the price of lumber per thousand board feet is back to pre-pandemic levels, the supply chain for lumber is also back to normal. That’s one of many factors helping to drive prices back down.

“Also the interest rates have significantly decreased the demand for housing not just locally, but nationally. And obviously we’re a relatively small lumber market compared to some of the other parts of the country, but the decrease in demand definitely helped lumber prices,” said Barbato.

So, what does this ultimately means for the average person?

“Now it’s again the right time to do those projects. When you’re just you know in the lumber package part of a project, this is much more affordable than it was a year ago,” said Barbato.

Not all prices are falling. Rick Herman, CEO of the Rochester Home Builders’ Association says the prices of other products that go into new home construction have gone up.

“Concrete has gone up about 40% right now,” says Herman. “I hear there’s an additive that’s creating that issue. Anything petroleum based, siding, roofing because of oil prices that are still high.”

He goes on say another big factor driving up prices, the labor force.

“We just don’t have the people out in the labor force in the residential construction markets that we had. That force has grown older. Those folks have retired, and the younger generation haven’t filled the pipeline yet,” says Herman.

First time home buyers still face some challenges when it comes to the lack of existing homes for sale. Instead of selling, Barbato says many homeowners are choosing to keep, and just remodel their homes.