lumber shortage

As construction season kicks off, those looking to renovate this spring and summer might be stunned by the price of lumber.

“It was a big shock to find out it was going to be that much more this year,” Andra McLachlan said.

She’s on her second year of home and backyard renovations and is kicking herself for not completing everything sooner.

“I really wish we had done the privacy fence last year because it’s already double what it would have cost us to do last year.

“Oh, it’s ridiculous. A 2×4 stud used to be $3.50; now they’re $9.80. A sheet of OSB plywood was $12 two years ago; now it’s $56 per sheet,” contractor Johnny Borkristl said.

Borkristl owns Calgary based Hawkeye Designs and is completing McLachlan’s renovations.

READ MORE: Lumber industry and home building materials seeing a drastic increase in price, shortages

According to Statistics Canada’s Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI) this is the fourth consecutive monthly increase for softwood lumber.

“Year over year, softwood lumber was up 118.9 per cent —the largest ever year-over-year increase posted by this product, since the series began in 1956,” the IPPI states.

Softwood lumber (January 2018 to March 2021). Source: Statistics Canada
Softwood lumber (January 2018 to March 2021). Source: Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada

“Now we aren’t getting as many bids. This time last year we had booked up until August, but this year we’re only booking two weeks out because 95 per cent of clients aren’t spending the money,” Borkristl said.

While lots of people are renovating and building in Canada, it’s the United States’ demand and hot housing market that’s driving up the price, says Lumber Logic Finance Manager, Brad Hoover.

“The supply chain is as maxed out as it can get.

“The demand has outweighed the supply 10-fold,” Hoover said.

“A load of 2x4s costs $100,000 right now and you aren’t getting it for three to four months… Last year at this time the truck load was worth $35,000 and you were getting it in two to three weeks,” he added.