Lumber price increase not expected to impact local housing market

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Lumber costs are soaring after threats of wildfires and proposals of potential tariffs on Canadian imports of the product.

Home builders, like R.J. Wachsman Homes in Wichita Falls, use lumber to construct the frames of their homes.

"While it does make up a large part of the structural integrity of a home, it's a very small percentage of what goes into a home," said Tanner Wachsman VP of R.J. Wachsman Homes.

Ultimately, home builders like Wachsman and his competitors will have to pay a little more for their lumber, but that change in lumber prices is not going to affect the overall home price enough to deter families from buying new homes.

"We've seen material prices on the rise for quite some time so we've kind of been prepared for this, but there are quite a few things in play here when it comes to lumber prices specifically," said Wachsman.

Kaleb Laughlin, Lumber Manager of Sutherland's Lumber in Wichita Falls, said the fire season came earlier than normal.  For suppliers like Sutherland's, it's not a problem, at least not yet.

"I mean lumber is usually bought in bulk, and so sometimes you can only see it when you have to place an order.  If you place an order earlier in the year and you get it in and you ride it through the fire season, you as a store may never see the prices go up, but if you're late on it getting in on buying and you buy too late, you may see it go up small amounts," said Laughlin.

With strong demands for homes, lumber shortages could soon end up potentially hurting some buyers, but Laughlin and Wachsman say, for now, there's no cause for concern.

"In the present, we're not seeing current upticks in lumber prices hit us all that hard because again, it's a very small percentage of a home so families shouldn't be worried here in Texoma," said Wachsman.

The Trump administration has also proposed a tariff of up to 24% on Canadian lumber which, if approved, could end up increasing the price of an average home by as much as $1,000-$3,000.

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