Rising lumber costs have domino effect on new homes being built

Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 10:27 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The housing market is red-hot. And builders say they can’t finish new homes fast enough but the materials are driving up those prices.

It costs more to build a new house right now and will likely take longer than it would have a year ago. Lumber costs are up and the demand is high. In Mississippi especially, the raw product isn’t the issue.

“We’ve got plenty of timber to cut,” explained Mississippi Loggers Association Executive Director David Livingston. “We’ve got plenty of loggers to cut the timber. We have the capability to get the timber to the mills. The back up right now is the mills from being able to have enough employees to stay on top of production. Most of them are running at full production to keep up with the demand right now.”

So, what about that demand? President of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi Steven Smith says they’re getting calls every day.

“Increased amount of buyers in the market,” said Smith. “In fact, it’s hard for us to put enough product on the ground fast enough.”

If you go to a job site, it’s easy to see that timber is a non-negotiable.

“One of our biggest increases we’ve seen in lumber has been our OSB which is what you find on our walls for wall sheathing and again on the roof as our roof sheathing,” described Smint. “Currently, prices are about four times as much as what we were paying this time last year.”

Smith says with the low mortgage interest rates, even a higher price tag hasn’t been as much of a sticker shock.

“It’s proportional,” said Smith of the costs tied to the rising lumber prices. “A larger house... it’s going to be quite a bit more and then number’s a little more scary but with the rates the way they are... it’s still a fantastic time to be in the market.”

Some manufacturers paused production due to COVID. So, lumber isn’t the only building material with rising costs. That’s forcing builders to extend the timelines on new builds.

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