Cost of lumber, building supplies skyrockets

As the province shuts down, the lumber industry kicks into high gear, but with the prices of lumber skyrocketing, the construction season may hit a supply slump.

Todd Young, the owner of Beach Builders Home Hardware in Wasaga Beach, says there is a significant shortage in building materials across the trade. Add to that the rising cost from the mills and treaters, "pricing is driving retail off the charts," he says.

The cost of building a backyard deck, fence or framing a house could be much higher than ever before.

North America has seen disruptions in supply chains, coupled with an explosive housing market, which Young says has resulted in some staple building materials, like oriented strand board (OSB), to triple in price. "Today's cost pricing has driven that from 59 to 65 dollars, depending on where you shop for a seven-by-16 OSB."

Add to that more people who are spending more time on the homefront during the past year; household projects have taken off, resulting in building material shortages.

And retailers expect shortages for more than just lumber. Plumbing pipes, drywall and compound, plus wire, could become difficult to get in quantities.

Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders Association, says the building industry has never faced supply chain issues like this before, with shortages causing project delays. "We're not just talking about lumber, doors, windows. It's across the spectrum. Builders are doing the best to manage it, but they are also managing it by letting consumers know the impact is going to be reflected in the price of a house."

In anticipation of a supply chain issue, some retailers stocked up with as much lumber as possible, with the expectation restocking could become a challenge later this season.

If provincial restrictions lift, it could bring more people out of the home and away from renovations, meaning a price drop later on towards fall or early 2022.

Under the latest stay-at-home order, construction activities or projects and related supporting services, including demolition and land surveying, are allowed.

Most hardware stores are open for curbside pickup and delivery in Ontario over the next four weeks due to tightened restrictions. Some independently owned stores may be open for in-store shopping with capacity limitations.