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Michigan builders & contractors still facing pandemic challenges

Posted at 3:36 PM, Sep 10, 2021

(WXYZ) — Whether you're constructing a home, looking to buy a new build, or renovating a basement, watching lumber prices skyrocket this past spring and dealing with shipping delays may have thrown a wrench into your plans.

Raad Herfi, the lumber yard manager at Durst Lumber Company in Berkley, said lumber prices have dropped since this past spring.

"I’ll say they dropped anywhere from 50% or more in some cases, depending on the lumber that you’re buying," Herfi said.

At the height of the prices for lumber this past May and June, Herfi said an 8-foot-long two-by-four would cost you $10.99. Right now, it'll cost you $6.99.

But contractors like Tom Wooderson, owner of Property Rescue, have noticed that lumber prices still vary depending on when and where you buy.

"I’m spending a lot more time estimating through different lumber yards to see who has the best price," Wooderson said. "Because their prices coming down based on their inventory levels, because they may have purchased at a higher price. And so they’re going to be selling at a higher price.”

And don't forget about shipping delays — a pandemic problem that's still plaguing the construction industry.

"We’ve been experiencing all kinds of delays as far as what product line it might be — whether it’s cabinets, windows, you know, 5-quarter deck boards," Wooderson said. "Everything’s kind of hit or miss depending on when you need it.”

So, what should customers know once they've gotten a quote for a project?

Wooderson said if you wait too long to give it the green light, shipping delays may set your timeline back even more.

Or, the price may have to be recalculated — especially if your job requires lumber.

“Right now more than ever it really does pay to shop around," Herfie said. "You could literally save yourself thousands of dollars just by calling around and seeing who has the best price."