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Escalating Lumber Prices Alter Homebuyers’ Dreams

Some homebuyers research alternative building methods as lumber prices rise 130%.


Originally published by the National Association of Home Builders – September 2, 2020

According to the National Association of Home Builders’s (NAHB), lumber prices have skyrocketed since mid-April, rising 130% and increasing the cost of a single-family home by more than $16,000.

NAHB continues to advocate for increased production to ease the supply shortage and engaging Canada in trade discussions to remove the tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments. But solutions may not come fast enough for prospective home owners who now find themselves scrambling to find alternatives amidst these skyrocketing prices.

Wood Framing Prices

John and Teri Goldsmith began the process for building their retirement home in Eastern Tennessee in February 2020.

On Aug. 31, however, the Goldsmiths received an unexpected call from their builder, who — while pricing another project — regretfully informed them that the price of lumber had gone up 100% since the last time he had priced it for them.

John and Teri have begun to research alternatives, including different building methods that may use less materials.

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Study: Cost of Steel v. Wood

A recent study sponsored by the Steel Framing Industry Association (SFIA), “Costs to Build with Cold-Formed Steel Versus a Wood-Framed Building,” addresses framing costs on behalf of architects, building owners, and general contractors.

While the research was completed before the current spike in wood prices, “Costs to Build” establishes that CFS framing and wood framing costs in mid-rise structures are essentially the same, when construction insurance premiums associated with using the selected material are included.

Of course, the current skyrocketing prices of lumber make CFS framing the clear favorite from a pricing point of view right now.

Therefore, SFIA gathered pricing information and has issued a bulletin associated with the “Costs to Build” report.

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