BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — If you’re thinking about your next home improvement, like building a back yard deck, expect to shell out more cash, especially when it comes to buying lumber.
Building materials have skyrocket as a result the pandemic. Prices are having a direct impact on suppliers, contractors and consumers.
Inside the distribution area of LEN-CO Lumber at Seneca and Bailey in Buffalo, you will see stacks and stacks of lumber everywhere.
Right now, this company has enough in stock, but prices on some items are doubling and tripling.
“There's a lot of factors that are playing into that, but ultimately it comes down to good old supply and demand,” explained Steve Coppola, vice president, LEN-CO Lumber. “I think that there is sometimes an initial sticker shock these days.”
Coppola says he's trying to stay well-stocked and tries to offer the best prices for contractors and consumers.
“They start looking around on the internet or other places — they realize that market-wise, the pricing around here is very competitive and they realize hey — if we're going to do this project anytime soon better get it while it's there because of the supply shortages,” Coppola remarked.
According to the Associated General Contractors of America there has been a “record jump” in material prices from 3.5% February to March. And the increase is even higher when you compare this March to last of nearly 13 percent.
“People are putting the breaks on when it comes to paying a higher price for these products, so we're seeing a lot of them show up here,” said Chad Pavlicek, sales rep, LEN-CO. “It’s a little nerve-racking.”
Pavlicek says customers are doing their homework and comparison shopping to find the best prices.
“There's a lot of head shaking — there's a lot of head shaking — and some disappointment, but the other thing is we've got to move on it now because a week or two from now, things could change,” Pavlicek noted.
To give you an idea of how prices are climbing, the cost of plywood has tripled. It was around $15 a sheet last year, but the price has jumped to about $40 a sheet this year. That's making it really difficult for contractors giving residential estimates.
“You sign the contract for so and so price and weeks later the woods doubled,” declared Frank Dispasqual.
Dispasqual works with Mustafa Mohammed. The contractors work together in Buffalo. They say the higher plywood costs is putting a “dent” in their profits.
“How is it for you as a contractor, right now, to deal with the high prices?,” Buckley questioned.
“Especially for the lumber for the roof — it's really killing us. The customer — they don't understand that,” responded Mohammed.
“Are you worried about surviving?” asked Buckley.
“Yes,” replied Dispasqual.
“Soon we will,” answered Mohammed. “It’s going to be hard — really — it's really going to be hard."
“Some of our people that we had lined up are just dropping out because they can't afford the high lumber prices because our price goes up and they don't want to understand,” described Dispasqual.
“They're buying at a normal clip, but very cautiously and we're just trying to do what we can to help them stay competitive with all the changes that are going on,” Coppola replied. “We’re working vey hard to help them be educated on what’s happening in the market place and with supply.”