Price of Lumber Gets Sawed in Half

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The Balance

That’s how much the price builders pay for lumber has fallen since it hit an all-time high in May, giving people looking to build a new home hope that it just might be cheaper to do now.

Those high lumber prices you may have heard about are a thing of the past, at least at the moment. The price of softwood lumber plummeted in the last two months, dropping 27% in August and 29% in July, according to government data that records how much firms pay for goods. Softwood lumber is a key material for home construction and has a large effect on the total cost of building a new home. At the peak, the National Association of Homebuilders estimated that the tripling of lumber prices year-over-year added an average of $35,872 to the price of a new single-family home.

Earlier this year, a construction boom caused a high demand for lumber at the same time mills were operating below capacity. Lumber producers have since ratcheted up their output, helping ease pressures on the supply and price of materials.

With material costs now declining, it could be a better time to build a home—and some homebuyers are starting to notice. The net share of those who said in August that it’s a good time to buy increased 7 percentage points month-over-month, the first time since March that buyers have been more optimistic about the conditions they’d face while finding a home.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Rob at ranthes@thebalance.com.