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Lumber prices impacting Habitat for Humanity

Lumber prices impacting Habitat for Humanity
Posted at 3:07 PM, Jul 01, 2021

LAFAYETTE — After a record breaking high in the price for lumber, builders are now seeing them drop. However, the price still isn't low enough for organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

Throughout the pandemic the cost of lumber surged as the demand for new homes and renovations increased.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, it increased more than 300% during the beginning of the pandemic to May of this year.

However, there was a slight drop this week. Prices averaged around $700 per thousand board feet, compared to a peak of $1670.50 in May 2021 and $422.80 in February 2020, pre-pandemic.

It's a drop, but the amount is still more expensive compared to last year before the pandemic.

"Lumber prices have increased more than double our budget," Construction Director Ji Daily said. "We usually pay around $7,000. Right now the prices we're getting from our local vendors is $18,000, and that's astronomical."

The non-profit has a goal of building 10 homes a year over the next 5 years. Daily says they're looking for other sources of funding to help.

"We're a small non-profit; we'll have to find more financial support," Daily said. "So if there's anyone who wants to donate money, material, services, or their time by volunteering with us that will be really helpful. We've made commitments to our homeowners that are in our program to build those many houses and we cannot back out on the production rate we've set for ourselves."

Another issue, a lack of volunteers because of the pandemic. It's adding an additional cost for the organization to pay contractors. While there's been a slight decrease in lumber prices, Daily says it's not enough.

"The vendors I've spoken with anticipate a slight decrease, but it's not anywhere near the price we've seen in the past," Daily said. "That's what our budgets are based off of. In order to keep our homes affordable to homeowners we need to see that price go down way more than what we're seeing currently."

If you'd like to volunteer or make a donation towards Habitat for Humanity, click here for more information.