Lumber prices soar as demand rises in the Rio Grande Valley

Local News

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Lumber shortage means fewer homes can be built, yet the demand is for housing is soaring in the Rio Grande Valley, and along with it the price of lumber.  

Initially, high prices of lumber could mean more profit for sellers, however, it also brings uncertainty in the market and both suppliers and buyers do not know what to plan for.   

“I am having to buy at ridiculously high prices–this is a seller’s market,” said Jeremy Smith, co-owner of Matt’s hardware store in San Benito. “I don’t have any control of what I am paying all I can do is tell my suppliers–I’ll take it!” 

Smith says that different suppliers are making a lot of money, but that means higher prices for consumers. 

“So, I’m not saying they’re colluding but in a way that’s what happens,” said Smith. “Markets get together and say ‘hey why do you want to sell at less? We’re all making a lot right now–leave it the way it is!” 

For example, construction business owner, Sam Ramirez, does general renovations for homes and he says the new prices change overnight, costing him profit.  

“Just last week I got an estimate for this fence, and I went to buy it yesterday and it was actually 32 cents higher for each picket,” said Ramirez. “After 500 and something pickets, it was like 150-200 dollars.” 

When the prices for lumber change suddenly, so does the cost of construction projects, especially for houses. According to Smith, people are paying for homes to be built that increases by thousands of dollars due to the cost of materials.  

“I feel their pain! I mean we are stuck in a similar boat where we’re having to make commitments to things that are 8 to 10 weeks out without knowing whether we’re going to be able to get the money that it takes to cover the costs on that,” said Smith.  

Some contributing factors to the lumber prices are a shortage of workers.  

“A lot of the mills and log companies are actually shut down, or minimal people…you know?” said Ramirez.  

Credit: Iris Karami; Pictured: Jeremy Smith

Including the trucks that transport them.  

“Trucking is a major problem; trucking is becoming a major issue with costs rising every day and even if you’re willing to pay…The ability to find drivers period,” said Smith.  

For the time being, companies’ weather through the uncertainty.  

“All we can do is get our little piece and try to do our part to make it right,” said Smith.    

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