CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's no secret: the price of a home is on the rise in the Charlotte area, and one of the reasons you're paying more is the soaring price of lumber.
"No it's actually insane," said Mike Carpinelli, who owns three home improvement or building businesses in Concord, including American Italian Construction. "It's shocking to see what the prices are today from what they were a year ago."
Carpinelli and others in the construction industry are stunned by the skyrocketing prices of wood and they've paid a pretty penny to complete projects for clients. Ultimately, the consumer pays the price and it's having a big impact on even the smallest projects.
"I built this small porch out of deck materials, treated lumber," Carpinelli said. "That was the most expensive 5-foot by 12-foot deck I've ever built."
Last year the porch would have cost his customer $25 per square foot. In 2021, it costs anywhere from $50-$65, and that price could change by the week as the price of lumber changes.
Lumber prices have skyrocketed more than 180% since the spring of 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It means, on average, the luxuriously-priced lumber has added up to $24,000 to the cost of a single-family home.
"That's a big number," Carpinelli said.
What's the reason?
High tariffs on imported lumber, especially from Canada where the U.S. imports most of its wood, is one reason according to Carpinelli.
Another reason: supply is not keeping up with an unexpected demand for lumber through the pandemic since people are still building and completing DYI projects.
"There's a variety of things that people are seeing while they're being at home during this pandemic," he explained.
On March 12, NAHB sent a letter to the new secretary of commerce. It asked the feds to take a close look at the supply chain and to renovate it where needed.
"We write to urge your immediate attention to an issue threatening the economic recovery and housing affordability: the price of lumber," the letter read.
"We urge you to undertake a thorough examination of the lumber supply chain and seek remedies that will increase production," it concluded.
"The need is still going to be there," added Carpinelli.
For now, homes will continue to pop up, along with the prices.