IL Facing Lumber Shortage, Uptick In New Construction

By Benjamin Cox on September 24, 2020 at 5:54am

Illinois contractors and homeowners are dealing with a massive lumber shortage. The Illinois Center Square reports that new construction in the state has seen a lull in the last few years, but has picked up during the COVID-19 pandemic because of a lack of available new homes for sale.

Ed Neaves, president of the Illinois Realtor’s Association, said to the Center Square that people stuck in their homes for weeks have realized they can build what they want onto their existing homes.

Lumber mills closed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, so inventories at lumber yards were low throughout the summer. Local lumber prices in Jacksonville and throughout West Central Illinois have doubled and in some cases tripled in some areas due to the shortage. Despite the higher prices, lumber yards and hardware centers are still struggling to keep up with the demand. Neaves told the Center Square that prices for treated lumber in some areas have shot up over 300 percent. The prices have also caused some builds for municipal and local government infrastructure projects to raise bids or be delayed due to the lumber shortage.

The National Association of Home Builders said builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased five points to hit an all-time high of 83 in September, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released last week. The previous record in the 35 years of the series was 78, which was set last month and also matched in December 1998. The shortage and the calls for new construction are not expected to subside anytime soon.