Rainsville lumber salesman discusses skyrocketing lumber prices, low supply

Northeast Alabama

RAINSVILLE, Ala. – The price of lumber has skyrocketed and could go up even more.

According to Random Lengths, which releases wood product market reports show lumber prices are up 193% from a year ago.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that due to insufficient domestic production and tariffs on Canadian sources, the price of lumber has risen roughly 80% since mid-April to an average price above $600 per thousand board feet. 

In Rainsville at Johnson Lumber Co., there are stacks and stacks and stacks of lumber just waiting to be turned into homes or businesses.

“We haven’t slowed down any,” said salesman Josh Morrow.

That is in spite of the rising lumber costs.

Morrow tells News 19 they first saw an increase when the pandemic first began.

“We were told the treating companies were buying the pine for treating and it was causing a shortage in that way,” added Morrow.

He explained that since then, the price of just about every type of lumber has spiked weekly.

“It’s probably increased five or six times what it should be. I don’t know if it’s politically driven or if with the low interest rates, the company sees how much of a demand for houses, that they’ve looked at this as a good opportunity to make as much money as they can. There’s no shortage of trees, for whatever reason, there’s a shortage of lumber and it’s hard to get.”

Morrow said his biggest concern is supply.

“The availability from our suppliers is getting low on things that we need and are you going to be stuck in the middle of your job and not be able to get the material and when you get done will you have far more in it than what it’s worth,” Morrow said.

He said it is not only lumber prices that have jumped either.

It is also other home building materials like vinyl siding, plumbing pipe and even electrical conduit like this which before the pandemic cost $19.98, not costs $49.96.

“We are being told there’s a poly resin that plumbing pipe, conduit is made out of, vinyl siding, the glue that goes into our product, tapes, this poly resin is not available,” he explained.

When News 19 asked when he thinks the prices will go back down, Morrow said, “I don’t know and that’s the scary part.”

He said he hopes when they do drop, that the housing interest rates do not skyrocket and stop home building.

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