At home projects affect supply and demand of lumber


MARCUS, Iowa (KCAU) – While the COVID-19 pandemic has limited what there is to do, a lot of people are taking on home projects.

A buyer for Marcus Lumber said because lumber has been difficult to get their hands on, prices have spiked, and the shortage is leaving suppliers struggling to keep up with the demand.

“We’ve seen a big increase in do it yourself projects. Anything having to do with outdoor projects have been very popular,” Grant Leavitt, a lumber purchaser for Marcus Lumber, said.

He said products like treated deck boards and 4-in x 4-in have been in short supply.

“We’ve had to wait several weeks just to get it, and it’s been a fine line to balance the supply versus the demand, and we’ve seen the prices increase from that too. Just because things are hard to get, and prices have gone up,” Leavitt added.

He said the cost has gone up anywhere from 20% to 30%, and now the company is finding ways to meet the demands of its customers, like contractor Andy Busch.

“We’re very nervous about what was going to happen this summer because we didn’t know if everybody was going to be out of jobs and not have money to do projects. But, it seems like everything has been good around here anyway. The phone keeps ringing, and it’s been hard to keep up sometimes but it’s been good,” Busch said.

Leavitt adds that lumber mills underestimated the demand, forecasting a downturn once COVID hit, but that hasn’t been the case.

“It’s not like a lot of these items are sitting available to be bought. They have to be produced and manufactured,” he added.

Leavitt said in order to keep up with the growing demand for lumber, Marcus Lumber has had to rely on new distributors in order to get the product.

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