Lumber, materials prices high

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Local builders and suppliers can only guess at what’s driving construction material prices to their highest levels ever, but the demand isn’t slowing down, and the construction market is as strong as it’s been in years.

The scenario launched a year ago as the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality, and scarcity of supplies forced building materials upward in every category. Lumber has taken a particularly strong hit with many basic components now higher by two and a half times.

For example, a one-half inch sheet of standard plywood one year ago sold for $19. That same plywood costs $46 at Hipp Modern Builders Supply today. Standard volume sheathing materials for new construction last year were $11.89 compared to $45.99 today.

Hipp Manager Mike Harrison said the driving force for prolonged higher lumber costs is a mystery.

“Honestly, nobody has ever given us a good reason, and nobody can tell us why,” Harrison said. “We know a lot of suppliers who are close to the source, and no one can give us a good answer.”

Read the full story in the April 7, 2021 issue.

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