Lumbers prices skyrocketing across the country

Wichita Falls feeling the effects
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Across the nation, the lumber industry is changing, and it’s changing quickly.

“In my 51 years in the lumber business, I have never anything like the last year and a half,” Larry Scott of Builders Lumber Company in Wichita Falls said. “The demand for lumber and building materials right now is unreal.”

When the pandemic hit, lumber yards cut staff and in turn, lowered the output of material and the output is staying low with people refusing to return to work. Builders Lumber serves as a middle man between lumberyards and the actual consumer, and Scott says prices are up 400%.

“I’ve been buying some carloads of lumber that are over $200,000 which is just unheard of,” Scott said.

Those same car loads used to be $50,000 and it’s ultimately forced him to raise his prices as well.

“You feel like a crook sometimes when you tell a guy this board is $10 and two years ago he remembers when it was $2,” Scott said.

But oddly enough, people are having no problem coughing up the extra dough with record low interest rates.

“Let’s say 10 or 15 years ago, people that were buying the $100,000 house at six percent interest rate, now they can afford a $200,000 house at three percent interest rate,” Jose Garia, North Texas Home Builders Association President, said.

And in many cases, people are building new homes with the thought that the low-interest rate will cancel out the cost of building materials.

“These lumber prices might drop down, but the labor force is not there. We can’t produce enough houses to supply the demand,” Garcia said.

So now, the industry hangs in an ongoing cycle. Low rates mean a high demand for a product that doesn’t have enough manpower to keep up.

“We don’t think we’ll ever see lumber back to where they were two or three years ago,” Scott said.

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