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Lumber Shortage Update

Lumber supply in Canada may get worse heading into winter.

Three Reasons Why?

Supply chain issues have caused shortages of products and goods worldwide since COVID 19 began. However, lumber is probably the most effected commodity (in the past 18 months) than any other. Lumber has been hard to get since late 2020, and as a result, prices are ridiculous. Over the winter of 2021 lumber supplies caught up to demand just in time for another building season and things have been better. But again, lumber supplies are beginning to lose ground and prices once again are going up. Is an end in sight? What’s the latest reason for yet another shortage? Three factors control supply.

Canadian Wildfires

The past year has seen hundreds of wildfires in Canadian forests, particularly in British Columbia during summer months. Most of our lumber comes from BC. Fires significantly slowed lumber production across the province and all three main lumber companies were forced to cut back production. Not only is the supply of lumber reduced but the whole supply chain has been disrupted including transport. Without the ability to move the product, sawmills have been forced to slow production for this reason as well.

In addition, other areas that normally produce enough lumber to supplement shortages like Washington and Oregon also suffered from unprecedented wildfire incidents. Last year saw 681,291 hectares burn in BC, and Oregon and Washington lost 404,686 hectares during the summer season alone.

Sawmill Production

Sawmills have been forced to slow or close for other reasons not related to fires. There has been and continues to be a labour shortage. First it was reluctant workers to come back after COVID 19, now another problem is causing a shortage in workers. Minimum wage was raised significantly recently, and workers who have spent years off work are demanding more money. Inflation is ballooning as well in Canada. Sawmills are in a tough spot and have no choice but to raise prices yet again to be able to pay their labour force.  

Consistent Demand for Lumber

During COVID 19 no one could travel and some with “extra” funds decided to put their holiday cash into renovating or additions to their homes. Add to that to a hot housing market that is consistent for years and you have a perfect storm for an unprecedented lumber demand. In our area (South-West Ontario) the housing bubble is finally beginning to deflate, this is the only glimmer of hope, but it will take a while for production to catch up. However, keep in mind that most our lumber goes South to the US where the demand for new homes hasn’t slowed yet. According to the Wall Street Journal the US market is about 4 million homes short of their current demand. That represents a lot of lumber.

Quality Becomes More Important

Experts are saying to brace for another shortage and higher lumber prices in 2023. So, if your thinking of investing in a new fence or deck, now is the time, hesitating will only raise the cost of it. When lumber becomes precious it becomes very important to hire a company who uses it to build a quality product that will be durable. Visit our homepage and read our reviews. Learn why Brantford and area homeowners chose B.R.A.G. Contracting for their fences and decks.