CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The pandemic has caused a major fluctuation in the prices of lumber in the United States, especially in 2021.
With more people at home, more people did projects on their homes, which caused an increase in demand. At the same time, lumber mills were hit hard by COVID-19, causing a shortage in supply.
“A lot of these people were at home, and a lot of home renovations started, a lot of do-it-yourself jobs, that definitely took an effect on inventory levels,” said Roman Arellano, the assistant to the president at Zarsky Lumber in Corpus Christi. “Due to COVID-19, there were a lot of shortages at the mills, there were a lot of issues filling the inventory orders, and during that time you saw a lot of prices start to soar up.”
Because of the decreased supply and increased demand, the price of lumber rose dramatically, hitting an all-time high of $1,670.50 per 1,000 board feet in May. Since then, the price has dropped and has returned to a typical price, of $533.10 per 1,000 board feet, as of Monday.
“The market definitely has sustained, and we’ve basically pressed the reset button, or the pricing floor,” Arellano said.
Arellano said, thankfully, Zarsky continued to see business, which he attributes to the company’s local customers.
“Our customers definitely come to us for our knowledge, we’ve been in business for more than 90 years, and we’ve been able to maintain our customers for quite a while. They come to us based on the pricing and the services we provide,” he said.
With prices returning to normal, Arellano suggests now might be a good time to work on any home projects you’ve been planning.
“Between September and October, it’s a great time to start doing those do-it-yourself jobs, home renovations, remodels, a lot of decking needs to be repaired. The time would be right now,” he said.
Also, the peak of hurricane season approaches, and Arellano said stocking up on materials while price and demand are low is a good idea, in case the Coastal Bend is hit with a storm.
“I recommend a lot of people go out there, get that OSB, get that plywood that you need beforehand, to properly prepare; it’s one of the main things I always recommend,” he said.