Nationwide lumber shortage causes costly problems for Hawaii projects

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A nationwide lumber shortage is causing some costly problems for homeowners, builders and suppliers.

A slow down in production and an increase in demand also has prices on construction goods through the roof.

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“I’ve never seen anything close to these lumber prices,” said March Schwinn, president of the Hawaii Lumber Products Association. “In the past year, from April to April, were up over 250 percent.”

Production has come to a halt as lumber mills shut down or cut back workers. Lumber prices have since tripled.

“The cost of plywood has gone up so dramatically. A half inch sheet of plywood is selling in the $70 range today. Tomorrow, it’ll probably be higher,” Schwinn said.

Contractors are also seeing prices skyrocket on new home renovations.

“This house in the background, this represents about $60,000 in total lumber costs, including all your dimensional lumber, your plywood, your trusses,” Evan Fujimoto of Graham Builders. “Today, that same lumber package would be over $100,000.”

Those DIY projects around the house are also getting more costly too.

“Drywall is up, copper, wiring is up, and it’s impacting lead times as well. So for example, now we have to add at least a couple of weeks onto the delivery schedule for windows, doors, and cabinetry,” Fujimoto said.

Suppliers say it might be a long wait for those looking to order building materials.

“Some of the manufacturers are actually letting us place orders now, but they won’t ship until the middle of July. They will charge us what the pricing is in July. So it makes it very difficult to give a customer a quote right now, because you don’t even know what the cost would be,” said Schwinn.

Contractors hope these COVID-19 pandemic problems come to an end and prices stabilize in 2022.

“We do anticipate next year, when production increases for lumber and other supplies and prices should come back down, because these are historical highs we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Fujimoto.

Experts advise consumers to get those projects done now before the forecasted prices continue to increase.

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