Lumber shortage woes: Prices through the roof causes delays for Hawaii projects

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A slowdown in production compounded by high demand continues to raise building material prices through the roof in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Lumber Products Association (HLPA) says prices are up 400% when compared to the same time in 2020.

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It is not just the prices that is causing issues.

“It’s a lead time problem where an item might take me four to eight weeks in normal times. Now it’s taking me 12 to 16 weeks for materials to show up,” said HLPA president Mark Schwinn.

It is creating an uphill battle for projects like the Koko Head trail.

“All the money is going to materials and we have no paid, staff we have really no overhead it’s just all materials,” said David Nixon, president of the Kokonut Koalition. “Right now, we have enough materials for everything except lumber and so all the rest of the money is going into lumber.”

The City Parks and Recreation Department has seen systemwide delays in improvements too.

It is not just lumber that is taking the hit, however.

“It’s metal, fasteners, adhesive, drywall and like I said, it’s really a supply chain issue,” Schwinn said.

That is causing concerns for Castle & Cooke as construction continues on the Koa Ridge development.

“Almost 100% of our buyers are our local families and the effects fall on them,” said Garrett Matsunami, Castle & Cooke vice president of residential operations. “If I could keep the prices down for our families, which are our aunties and uncles and our friends, that’s the biggest challenge with all the increases that are hitting us.”

“I think the last figure i saw was the average home price has increased by 24,000 to 36,000,” Schwinn said.

Building materials have become such a hot ticket item, people can now find dozens of listings online for plywood or drywall.

“I would be a little leary about buying plywood from a not trusted supplier but if you have to get something done, you got to do what you got to do,” said Schwinn.

Experts are hopeful that prices will stabilize in the coming months, but the market will not return to pre-pandemic days anytime soon.

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