Demand for lumber surges, driving prices up

Casey Roscoe with Seneca Sawmill Company said the increase in demand was largely due to pandemic.

Posted: Apr 1, 2021 6:04 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The supply of lumber in Oregon is struggling to keep up with the demand, causing the price for certain materials to skyrocket. This has caused certain, normally common materials to quadruple in price. 

Casey Roscoe with Seneca Sawmill Company said the increase in demand was largely due to pandemic.

“People have realized they didn’t have to live in close proximity to their work,” Roscoe said. “We started seeing people leaving cities and wanting [traditional] houses."

She also mentioned the increase of “do it yourself” projects as another cause of the rise.

Although there is no definitive end in sight, Roscoe believes this spike is temporary. 

"This is a moment of what's going on. As we're able to meet that demand., and mills are able to get up,and online and produce more," Roscoe said, "those lumber prices will go back down."

Ed McMahon is the executive director for Home Builders Association of Lane County. He shared similar sentiments of optimism. 

"I've seen a lot of ups and downs in our industry over the 23 years, and I don't think this is going to be something permanent," McMahon said, "I do think that right now it's tough. I think eventually the supply will catch up with the demand.

Jeff Melton is a manager at Parr Lumber in Springfield, and he said at this time the significant price increase hasn’t impacted their business, as they primarily work with homebuilding businesses.

"They're building because that's their livelihood, and people are still paying high prices and getting the job done," Melton said.

He also said he has confidence in the issue resolving itself at some point. 

"The market's going to correct and go back to somewhat normal. It'll just take some time," Melton said, "I'm just not sure when that's going to be." 

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