Lumber markets are continuing their rollercoaster ride.
Not so long ago, the price of building materials was sending construction costs through the roof.
Last month, Vancouver police warned of a spike in thefts from construction sites on the city’s west side as lumber prices spiked.
But now prices are falling back to earth.
“We’ve seen a lot of price volatility for sure the most ever in, I think, the history of the lumber business,” said Susan Yurkovich of the BC Council of Forest Industries.
About a month ago, the price of 1,000 board feet of softwood lumber peaked at over $1,600. It’s now almost half that.
The fluctuation in prices is something the BC Council of Forest Industries predicted and it now forecasts that lumber prices, although lower, won’t fall below pre-pandemic levels.
“I think you’re going to see solid lumber prices for quite some time because we still have very strong construction numbers and we expect those to continue on through the fall,” Yurkovich said.
“Where we are seeing a softening is in the repair and remodelling sector.”
Werner Antweiler of UBC’s Sauder School of Business said inflation remains a short-term concern.
“This is basically a set of temporary phenomena,” he said.
“Markets need time to adjust and eventually competition, once the markets get going again, will drive down prices to what they tend to be in the long run.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt disrupted the economy, Antweiler sees a larger issue on the horizon.
“Climate change is really the number one that’s affecting all countries globally. So we really need to figure out how we’re going to change that trend.”