Rise in prices, drop in supply frustrate Fredericksburg-area homebuilders | Business

There’s also a shortage of truck drivers to get the supplies builders need from mills and manufacturers to market, Kujawa said.

“I used to have a full head of hair and it used to be blond. I’ve been pulling it out and having a lot of sleepless nights,” he said. “Fortunately for me, I have a couple different locations that I deal with, so I can shift back and forth to deal with inventory challenges.”

Lack of supply coupled with a surge in demand has sent the price of framing lumber to record highs. It peaked at $1,514 per 1,000 board feet on May 20, according to the Fastmarkets Random Lengths, a trade publication that tracks lumber prices. That’s up from $427 on that date in 2020, although the price had fallen to $866.90 by June 21.

“We’ve never seen prices like this before,” said the publication’s editor Shawn Church.

Those increases are reflected in the price of a new house. The median was $372,400 for a new, single-family home house in April, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures. In April 2020, it was $310,000.

“That’s a $62,000 increase, but you can’t attribute all of that to lumber,” Church said. “It’s about half of that increased cost.”

Builders are also having trouble getting everything from drywall to garage doors and windows. Prices for those have increased as well, said Craig Toalson, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Virginia.

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