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Demand for lumber spikes prices for housing market setting record highs

Lumber supplies sales are booming, triggering a spike in home prices in both newly built and those previously owned.

Posted: Sep 2, 2020 11:13 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2020 8:23 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Some possibly bad news for homebuyers, but good news for wanting to sell their home.  The coronavirus pandemic triggered a spike in home prices, both newly built and those previously owned. 

When the coronavirus pandemic began, construction of new homes almost came to a halt, but in recent months, hardware supply sales are booming.

"I've been in the industry for decades, and I've never seen anything like this," said Chris Slimm, the manager at Porter's Building Materials. 

Slimm saying that lumber has been a hot item for months now.  He has been in the industry for decades and has never seen anything like it.

"We've seen double the cost, sometimes three times the cost of where a product was a year ago."

That increase is being passed on to homebuyers in the form of higher prices for homes.

"The cost to build a new home right now is increasingly high. Up to 15-20% higher than it was this time last year," said local Realtor Abby Dillon of Berkshire Hathaway.  "And that's because the cost of supplies, lumber, and the cost to get those supplies here on time has really gone up."

Dillon explains that because of the shortage of supplies, the price of homes continues to rise, which makes the homes that already exist in the market more valuable because it's increasingly hard to build a home.

Realtor "And so there's a shortage, and therefore the price continues to rise. Which makes the homes that are already existing more valuable, because it's increasingly hard to build a home."

Chris Slimm also added that materials would typically deliver around four to five days, and now it is taking four to five weeks, and that's not even guaranteed. 

A frequently asked question that Abby Dillon is experiencing is coming from homeowners, wondering if they put their house on the market, if it would sell.

"The market has been extremely strong. We've seen a huge up in home sales in particular. It is a seller's market for sure. The price of houses has been up, and despite COVID, we have seen a market that has been setting records all summer long."

The current average price of a home in St. Joseph is $184,000.  That is a 24% increase from this time last year.  The average time for the house to be sold is within four to five days once it's listed. 

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Most of today was sunny and dry with a few passing clouds. An isolated shower or two could develop late this afternoon in extreme northwest Missouri. Temperatures will continue to warm up on Wednesday with highs back in the upper 80s and lower 90s. Several rounds of showers and storms will return Thursday and Friday as a front moves through our area. A few storms could be on the stronger side or bring heavy rain. Temperatures will be back in the low to mid 80s for the weekend.
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