Publications

- September 1, 2021: Vol. 33, Number 8

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High cost: Is lumber worth its weight in gold? Diamonds? Platinum?

by Denise Moose

There came a point at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 where a joke was told that people should start proposing marriage not with the standard diamond, but with a chip of wood on the ring. If you were in the know about the cost of lumber, that joke was hilarious.

In April 2021, Fortune had a headline that read: “The price of lumber is up over 200 percent — and pre-COVID levels might never return.” It was reported in the article that home builders and do-it-yourselfers just couldn’t catch a break due to the price per thousand board feet of lumber jumping to an all-time high of $1,104, according to Random Lengths — a staggering 208 percent from one year previous.

When the pandemic struck last year, shutdowns caused sawmills to halt production at the same time that quarantining Americans rushed to Home Depot and Lowe’s to buy up materials for do-it-yourself projects. That supply-and-demand mismatch caused lumber inventory to plummet. Aided by rec

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