Construction materials

Shortage of building materials due to the pandemic

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the production of construction materials has declined significantly.

Eric Feagley, director of Niehaus Lumber, said he’s had a hard time finding supplies lately, and when he does, they’re at a much higher cost.

“Lumber prices have been going up for about nine months or better,” Feagley said.

Aside from the increased expense, Feagley says the materials themselves have been hard to come by.

“In the past, we could use two or three suppliers, two or three manufacturers,” he said. “Now I have to buy maybe a dozen. “

With costs steadily rising, Feagley said he needed to raise prices to reflect future expenses.

“The flip side is that if a customer comes in, they have a value based on the price tomorrow,” he said.

Although these prices are skyrocketing from person to person, the demand is still extremely high.

Feagley says interest rates on homes and other new construction are very low right now.

So while the initial housing costs have increased by about 30% right now, the low interest accrued is canceling it out.

“The end user when it comes to a mortgage payment is going to be in great shape,” he explained. “That’s why I have so much demand, it’s affordable.”

Although the industry has slowed down, even with production halted in some cases, the lumber industry has always been strong during the pandemic.

“It’s a volatile market, but we are shipping product from here as quickly as ever,” Feagley said.

He explained that even with general contractor jobs that are unaffected by interest rates, the demand is still there and business is still strong.

It’s just a little more expensive.

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