Lumber prices down dramatically after record high in early summer

Construction of a new home in Greenleaf is underway with lumber prices much more affordable...
Construction of a new home in Greenleaf is underway with lumber prices much more affordable than just a few months ago.(WBAY)
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 2:40 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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GREENLEAF, Wis. (WBAY) - After skyrocketing to a record high at the beginning of summer, lumber prices have fallen dramatically since then.

The crew for Bartolazzi Homes is busy in Greenleaf, with not one, but two new homes under construction on same street.

But just a few months ago?

“Materials got to an all-time high, it was crazy how high they go,” says Dirk Bartolazzi, owner of Bartolazzi Homes.

In early June, lumber prices soared to around $1,600 per thousand board feet, leaving customers facing tens of thousands of dollars in additional cost.

“Customer homes that we were planning on building, they hit the pause button and said let’s just wait a little bit and see what happens,” recalls Bartolazzi.

The perfect storm in the home building industry had hit.

The pandemic caused lumber mills to ramp down production due to labor shortages, while at the same time demand for new homes was soaring.

Today though, the supply is back and lumber prices have fallen around 75-percent, down to an average of $400 per thousand board feet.

“We had one house that we had price out at the peak and they were hesitant, but said you know, let’s still keep the ball moving forward and went through the whole process of closing and getting their construction loan and right before we were getting ready to build I had seen they had dropped, so I’m like let’s just quick re-bid this before we get started and it dropped almost $40,000,” says Bartolazzi.

With the inventory of existing homes for sale still well below buyer demand, Bartolazzi says he’s once again receiving several calls or emails each week from people inquiring about building a new home.

He’s hoping the supply-demand issue over lumber is resolved and prices will be far less volatile moving forward.

“It’s been a really good year for building, that spike definitely slowed it down for a tad, but very short pause to be honest with you and it picked up faster than it was before,” says Bartolazzi.

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