GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

After wild price swings during pandemic, the price of lumber is falling

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – For the past year lumber prices have gone skyward, basically the result of the pandemic. But as Kris Schuller reports they are again starting to fall. But the question is how far?

For 30 years Jeff Guzzonato has worked in the lumber business. But when it comes to lumber pricing, he’s never experienced anything like the impact of a pandemic.

“I’ve been buying lumber for a long time, and I’ve never seen the swings we’ve seen in the last 12 to 18 months. It’s been pretty crazy,” said Guzzonato, general manager of Jauquet Lumber Company.

When the pandemic hit, lumber mills closed. Yet a demand for new homes and renovations increased. All that sent the price of lumber nationwide soaring.

“We were selling 2 x 4 for almost $2 a foot at one point in time – we used to sell 2 x 4 for 40 cents a foot,” said Guzzonato.

Pre-pandemic, a sheet of OSB sold for less than $10. In May of this year, it was sold for between $55 and $60.

But now there are signs the price of lumber is falling.

“The futures market in lumber has dropped roughly 40 percent in the month of June,” said Guzzonato.

“Things were shut down and now they are coming back. You’re going to see lumber continuously dropping slowly,” said Jeff Dorner from Van’s Lumber and Custom Builders.

Dorner says that’s good news for consumers, considering the spike in lumber prices has added thousands of dollars to the price of a new single-family home.

“The majority of people feel that it’s gone up, it’s going to come down slightly, but it’s not going to come down to where it was before and that’s kind of my feeling also,” Dorner said.

“There is no guarantee that in two weeks from now, two months from now, that market might be back up again as demand takes back off and there are other problems,” said Guzzonato.

But at least now there is hope. As the country rebounds from the pandemic and sawmills ramp up production.

Despite the pandemic, Dorner says his company is busier now than it has been in a long time.

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