WEBB CITY, Mo. – Over the course of the pandemic, a lot of people picked up home improvement projects at the same time many mills were shutting down. The combination drove the demand for lumber through the roof.
“The way I understand it, the wood is just harder to come by,” observed Cheryl Frank, one Webb City resident.
The lumber shortage is driving up prices, doubling or tripling what it would normally cost to build. That’s hurting home contractors and people like Cheryl, now waiting to build her dream home.
“It’s actually caused a little bit of delay as far as coming up with accurate prices for us and trying to figure out if we should delay it to see if the prices come back down,” said Frank.
Canada supplies a lot of lumber to the U.S., but operation delays due to COVID-19 have slowed production. Wildfires and other recent natural disasters are also having an impact on prices.
“You throw three hurricanes through the southern pine forest in three months and it just creates more opportunities where people can’t work because it’s too wet and then the demand still is continued,” stated John Henkle with Henkle’s Ace Hardware in Webb City.
With prices so high, though, consumers aren’t wanting to buy.
“As people refuse to pay the price, the demand is going to go down and your supply will hopefully catch up and hopefully through the winter, we’ll continue to catch up and get back to normal,” said Henkle.