Construction Material Prices Skyrocketing


Samantha Antil, Digital Editor

In recent months, lumber prices have seen a steep climb – that is, when the products are available at all. COVID-19 has left many stores backlogged and struggling to keep up with orders. In response to the pandemic, prices dipped and construction generally halted. The real trouble resulted from the sudden influx of purchases as reopenings took place, swamping retailers with high-level demand. In response, the prices for goods like plywood have almost tripled in some cases. And wood isn’t the only material suffering from steep price hikes. 


PVC piping, electrical wire and boxes, aluminium, and concrete are all seeing notable rises in cost. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, steel products have reached a record high, having increased by 17.6% in March. Data from the NAHB further explores foreign exchange, expressing a decrease in the strength of a U.S. dollar to a Canadian one by over 13% since March 2020. 


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Construction Index (CCI) reports that 82% of contractors say that these material cost fluctuations have had moderate to high impact on their businesses, and it’s clear to see why. Out of those 82%, over half expressed concern over lumber prices, not to mention the cost of other goods and their respective availabilities. 80% of contractors are also experiencing delays due to COVID-19. 


The effect of the coronavirus in construction and renovation doesn’t end there. 


Because builders are spending so much more on supplies, the cost of houses themselves is climbing. New projects weigh in with tens of thousands of extra dollars from their inflated costs. Many contractors, fearing higher prices in the future, have begun buying in bulk, seemingly feeding into the cycle. 


The economic impacts of COVID-19 appear to be here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future – and they may not always be where one would expect them. There is no real certainty surrounding construction goods and their prices, or when things will begin to level out. Some sites recommend seeking out cheaper or lesser used alternatives to more popular products, while others believe the solution to be as simple as minimizing waste. 


Specialists are waiting by to observe how the market will change with time.