FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Despite soaring price of lumber, new construction up in Wisconsin

Local News

WRIGHTSTOWN, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Builders Association announced April is New Homes Month, surprisingly even as the price of lumber skyrockets.

So what’s behind the increasing cost of wood?

Joel Fleischman, President of Drexel Lumber says, “Looking at lumber prices from just a year ago and they’re up just over 300%.”

If you’ve tried to tackle a lumber construction project recently, you were probably hit with sticker shock.

Fleischman says, “So 7/16 Oriented Strand Board (OSB) primarily in our market for many years was selling for around $8 dollars a sheet, currently it’s selling for around $40 dollars a sheet.”

Lumber is quickly turning into amber-colored gold because the pandemic has cut down our northern supply of wood.

Wisconsin Builders Association (WBA) past president (2020) Jeff Dorner says, “It all started last year when the Canadian border got closed and tariffs were put on and we’re not seeing any lumber coming out of Canada at the moment.”

Fleischman adds, “So the time we buy it from the mill. They ship it here on a rail car that might take two months and that material might already be worth 30% more, than we even quoted it.”

Even though the price of lumber is soaring, it hasn’t stopped consumers from wanting to build.

Fleischman says, “Sales have been extremely strong and it’s still although lumber is escalating. It’s still an extremely good time to buy.”

Dorner says, “I am busier today than I have ever been, every day we get more calls for people calling in they want to do remodeling.”

Despite the cost of lumber, the Wisconsin Builders Association reports a 10% increase in new construction.”

Dorner says, “They want to build a new house. We’re doing more commercial work right now than we’ve done in several years.”

Fleischman adds, “People still have the American dream of living in their own home.”

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