Homebuyers face challenges due to shortage of lumber, building supplies

Lumber costs have increased as supplies have dipped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lumber costs have increased as supplies have dipped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.(WFIE)
Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 10:01 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - One of the biggest shortages in the country is the lack of housing materials, and it’s now affecting how folks plan to buy and build.

After a year of slowed down production, an increase in home remodeling, and several construction workers being laid off; the housing industry is now starting to feel the pressure of the shortages on materials.

“So, lumber gets all of publicity of high prices and charges, but we are seeing it all through the affects of building. You know electrical breakers, panels, and I mean we are seeing it with siding,” says Chris Ward who is a contractor and builder in Baton Rouge.

Ward and his wife, Christen, both work in the industry. Even though the shortage is a pain—contractors and realtors like the Wards are still extremely busy and it’s because interest rates are still low.

“There’s a lack of inventory for a little while, I think the cost of building was keeping people in resale houses. So now, they are like if I am going to spend an extra $20,000, I am going to put that into new construction,” says Christen Ward who is a realtor in Baton Rouge.

Even though the pricing on materials are high, realtors and contractors say it may be worth it in the end because what homeowners put in is what they get out, and owners can build up their equity.

“You know people are building equity into these houses, I mean you are paying more for them, but they are also worth more. So, it’s a tangible asset, it’s not like you are throwing the money away,” adds Ward.

However, if folks want a specific type of wood, they may want to ask ahead of time, contractors say they are planning their construction in advance to get those materials in, and they say don’t be surprised by the price.

Now a little tip, if homeowners go through contractors to get certain materials usually contractors are able to get a discount and they can get it in quicker.

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