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Soaring lumber prices hit home buyers, DIYers

New homes may soon cost $5,000 - $10,000 more
Posted: 10:36 AM, Jul 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-06 22:42:27Z

Ranjit Sharma is a custom home builder, who specializes in upscale houses with fine trim and old world woodwork.

His company, Copper Creek Homes in Blue Ash, Ohio, has been on a tear the past 5 years, thanks to the soaring housing market.    

But he now worries about rising prices from tariffs on Canadian lumber, that have sent the price of the beams, joists, and other wood he uses up almost 10% this year.

"Everything from the framing, to the roofing, to the interior trim," he said," has had price hikes."

Reasons for price hikes

It's not just tariffs causing the price spike:  Western wildfires and last year's hurricanes in Texas and Florida are  also causing many of Sharma's suppliers to raise prices on materials like drywall.

"We have also seen prices on steel, drywall, flooring, concrete, and just about everything go up," he said.

And these soaring prices can impact you  not only if you are building a new home, but even if you are just rehabbing your kitchen, or replacing your back deck.

Not just home builders affected

Outside a Home Depot store in Deerfield Township, Jack Allen was loading supplies to build a deck and fence.

He says the price of cedar, that he was hoping to use for the fence, has almost doubled in the past year.

"Can't afford a cedar fence any longer. Each picket is about $4, and there are two pickets every one foot."

As a result, he's downgrading to cheaper pressure treated lumber, which will lower his fence cost by a third.

For now, builder Ranjit Sharma is not passing along the price hikes to his home buyers. But he may soon, because it's about to cost him $5,000 - $10,000 more for each house he builds.

What can you do if you are planing a construction project? Builders suggest that cash strapped homeowners:

  • Ask about cheaper wood, if you are using cedar or other woods that have spiked in price.
  • Downside the project (in other words, reduce the size of that deck).
  • Consider wood-look laminate flooring instead of real wood.  

That way you don't waste your money.

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