Is There Really a Lumber Shortage in Texas?
Yes, there is a lumber shortage. Something to ponder, as a kid all you needed was a big cardboard box, some markers, and some scissors and you could turn it into a house, right? Of course, as you got older you realized that there were no two ways around it – you needed wood and lots of it to build your dream home. Up until the pandemic hit, there was plenty of lumber to go around but these days there is NOT! The lumber shortage is being caused by several factors.
Why is There a Lumber Shortage?
To put it simply, there is a lumber shortage because more consumers and businesses want lumber than what is available to buy. A lumber shortage is being triggered by the laws of supply and demand, mother nature, mountain pine beetles, COVID-related work shortages, a vaccination mandate, and supply-chain issues.
Increased Consumer Demand
Consumers and businesses including home builders want lumber.
Low Housing Inventory
Despite the median home price rising nearly 19% from November 2020, housing is in high demand. While new site-built home sales are down, the inventory of existing homes is at historic lows. The pandemic has pushed more families into suburban areas looking for housing. Many people are flocking to Texas because housing is less expensive, there isn’t a state tax, and property taxes are lower than in other states. Texas is the fastest-growing state in the country according to U.S. Census. 29,527,941 people were living in Texas in 2021.
A surge in DIY Projects
Additionally, consumers want wood for DIY projects. At the beginning of the pandemic, most of us were forced to stay home and stare at the same four walls day in and day out. This caused us to hone in on every flaw we could find and just want something better or even new or different to look at! That has fueled more DIY projects than ever before. Now that more and more employees are working from home – it is fueling a new surge of DIY projects.
Less Lumber Production
As new and emerging COVID variants sweep across the world people become exposed, test positive, even get sick. Depending upon the severity of a person’s symptoms, that leaves them unable to work for several days, even weeks. This affects how the workforce, including timber mills, operates. Fewer mill workers working means less lumber production.
Why is There a Reduced Supply of Lumber?
So, what can’t more lumber just be milled? Pre-pandemic the answer would have been easier to answer. There is a reduced supply of lumber for several reasons.
Recent British Columbia Wildfires
First, nearly 300 wildfires burned across British Columbia in July of 2021. This curtailed the softwood industry. This is problematic because British Columbia is not only a major lumber producer, but it exports over half of its lumber to the U.S.
Recent British Columbia Flooding
Then, came the rain, which poured across British Columbia, and turned into flooding. That affected British Columbia’s lumber industry and the supply of wood the province sends to the U.S. as roads were washed away.
Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation
Blame another factor on climate change. An increasing mountain pine beetle population over the past 10 years or more is being blamed for destroying 15 years of log supplies in British Columbia.
What about other Lumber Suppliers?
So, why can’t wood be harvested, milled, and delivered from somewhere else? You’re right British Columbia isn’t the only lumber supplier. 16% of the U.S.’s lumber supply comes from Oregon. But the production supply there is also low due to COVID work-related shortages.
Lumber Delivery and Supply Chain Issues
COVID-related work shortages are also affecting the delivery of any lumber that is being produced both in Canada and the U.S. In Canada, there are other supply chain issues as well.
First, there is a driver shortage that’s only made worse by the pandemic. Right now, the American Trucking Association says that about 80,000 driver jobs need filling! The ATA estimates that by 2030 the number of drivers needed to deliver lumber and goods could double to 160,000.
COVID-Vaccination Requirement in Canada
Second, in mid-January of 2022, Canada began requiring any truckers arriving from the U.S. to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The Canadian COVID-19 vaccination requirement leaves fewer drivers behind the wheel.
Tariff on Softwood Lumber Producers
Third, there’s a tariff. Late last month, the U.S. Commerce Department confirmed that in 2022 it will impose a nearly 18% tariff on imports of Canadian softwood lumber producers. That’s more than twice the rate of 8.99% during the Trump administration.
How Has the Lumber Shortage Impacted the Price of Manufactured, Modular & Mobile Homes?
The lumber shortage has driven up the price of wood. This coupled with the need for more housing has driven up the price of site-built homes, as well as manufactured, modular, and mobile homes. Every time lumber costs more, home prices increase. For many, site-built homes are now out of their budget. In 2021, The average price of a single-family home increased by nearly $30,000 according to the National Association of Home Builders. In North Texas, the median price of single-family homes reached $353,000 – up 20% in 2021. The National Association of Realtors predicts housing prices will continue to climb by 5.7% in 2022. With inflation on the rise and higher interest rates on the way, consumers are looking for alternatives. These include mobile homes, manufactured homes, and modular homes.
When Will the Lumber Shortage End?
The ebb and flow of lumber production have been coinciding with the state of the pandemic. When the pandemic is heightened there is less lumber production. When the pandemic is less heightened there is more lumber production. So, at times since the pandemic began, lumber production has stabilized only to go back to low stock. Additionally, when weather conditions like wildfires and flooding hit, the lumber production supply and delivery chain are also affected.
Lumber Prices Moving Forward
Experts expect lumber prices to continue to rise in 2022. There are many reasons behind this theory. The main one is COVID-19. When new virus variants emerge and sweep across the world, it ultimately leaves a good number of folks sick or positive with COVID and unable to work. So that means less of a lumber production supply. That leaves stocks low, which drives lumber prices up. A heightened pandemic also means that there are fewer healthy people to deliver lumber to where it needs to go. Add in a driver shortage, imposed tariff on softwood lumber producers, and increased lumber demand by consumers wanting homes, and you see why lumber prices are only destined to go up.
Yes, there is a lumber shortage. The lumber shortage is being fueled by high consumer demand, weather-related production issues, COVID-related workforce shortages, a vaccine mandate, and a trucker shortage in Canada. Experts expect the lumber shortage to continue into 2022, along with higher lumber prices.
Now, while playing in a makeshift house made from a cardboard box may have been fun as a kid… Oak Creek Homes realize that more is needed in putting a roof over your head! This includes quality materials, like lumber, and solid heavy construction. Oak Creek Homes offers 100+ floorplans to choose from. We have manufactured home and modular home floorplans for every style, taste, and budget. Despite the lumber shortage, we can get our hands on lumber. As of today, we can not only build your home but get it to you in as little as 2 months. You can get a move-in-ready display model even faster!
Contact us today to tour our homes in person. Don’t wait – as experts expect lumber prices to continue to increase due to shortages and high demand. That means home prices will continue to increase as well.
Manufactured Home Builder Oak Creek Homes has been building heavy homes for over 50-years!
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