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Lumber price hikes affect affordable housing in community

Builders face repercussions to hikes in material costs
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 5:57 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The high rates in lumber right now across the nation are massively affecting home builders in our community from keeping new housing at an affordable rate.

Experts credit the escalating prices to insufficient domestic lumber production and large lumber mill reductions. In Northwest Ohio, Christopher Schissler, President of Premier Builders says that suppliers are constantly calling his team with increased prices on materials, from lumber, steel, and drywall, to roofing and siding, and windows.

“You know, there was three weeks ago on a Friday I got an email that said that order we thought we had went up 35% without notice,” Schissler says. “Before that, in early COVID problems, I would buy a whole house of lumber and ship it so the customer wasn’t affected, but now we don’t even have the opportunity to protect ourselves.”

According to the National Home Buyers Associations, lumber has skyrocketed by nearly 250% since April 2020, causing the average price of a new single-family home to increase by nearly $36,000, and $13,000 for a multi-family home.

Schissler says his team aims to be as transparent as possible with customers by including material costs in their quotes so they can manage expectations if and when prices go up, but one of their biggest problems is finding laborers who want to get back to work. They have been trying to hire laborers, carpenters, and more for over five weeks. Pre-COVID, they would have received up to 10 applications a day but now, they’ve gotten zero responses.

“Unemployment benefits should be there for normal unemployment benefits, but the stimulus to the economy, that should be there for people to go get a job now,” Schissler said. “Everybody’s got “For Hire” signs, so why not go work?”

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