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Lumber prices soar, increasing home building costs

According to the National Association of Home Builders, lumber costs have spiked 108% since last April.

PORTLAND, Maine — Whether you are building a house or updating your living space, the cost of lumber has skyrocketed.

"I've been in this market, this industry for 25-years now and never seen a price increase this steep for this long," said Eldredge Lumber and Hardware Store Manager, Norm Sirois.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, lumber costs have spiked 108 percent since last April, increasing the cost of building an average single-family home by $24,386.

"Wall plywood, 7/16-in OSB, is now over three times what it was this time last year. It used to be retailed for about $12 a sheet, and now it's over $30 a sheet," Sirois said.

Sirois said stimulus checks could be one of the reasons for the increase in demand.

"Everyone was home and decided let's rehab the house. We're home looking at the same situation week after week," Sirois said.

At Reynolds Custom Woodworks in Winslow, owner Kris Reynolds has felt the increase as well.

"A lot of the lumber we use for building our custom cabinetry has gone up anywhere between 12-20 percent depending on species," Reynolds said.

He said there could be another reason for the spike.

"It's possible a lot of lumber outfits or logging outfits across the country probably slowed down a bit, which didn't allow enough raw materials for a lot of the mills to produce the materials that we are all using," Reynolds said.

The National Association of Home Builders is urging policymakers to take immediate action to address the prices and supply shortages.

Last week, the association and more than 35-organizations, signed a joint letter to the commerce secretary and asked her to examine the lumber supply chain and identify solutions to increase production.

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