Soft or Sturdy? What Homebuilders Need to Know about the State of Lumber

Published January 9, 2022

If finally building your custom home is at the top of your 2022 “to-do” list, you’ve probably wrestled with the cost. Concerns about the fluctuating economy and inflation no doubt have an impact on the cost of building a custom home. But we’re here to tell you that these concerns shouldn’t keep you up at night; in-industry folks know that the situation isn’t near as dire as the headlines might make it seem, especially when it comes to lumber. Here’s what home builders need to know today: 

Birdseye view of the wooden frame of a custom built home.

Lumber Prices

Lumber prices have fluctuated over the past two years but currently remain steady. As the age-old saying goes, “what goes up, must come down.” Despite rising pricing and sounding alarms, current lumber futures are already down significantly from their high in May of 2021 and will continue to fluctuate and fall. So while future home builders should keep an eye on the markets when determining their timeline, they should also be optimistic; historically, periods of economic volatility for a product are followed by periods of stability. One expert says that they “can expect lumber prices to retreat in the near term as mills come back online and consumer behavior – along with overall economic activity – return to normal.”

Lumber Supply Chain Issues

Lumber supply chain issues are driving this fluctuation. While the U.S.’s lumber supply primarily relies on domestic products, a portion of the lumber market is comprised of Canadian imports. Throughout 2021, this region was heavily impacted by severe weather, with heavy rains causing intense flooding and an invasive mountain pine beetle outbreak. In the continental U.S., wildfires in the West as well as labor shortages, rising transportation costs, and general disruption of the trucking industry continue to impact supply. However, lumber experts expect U.S. mills and international imports to rebound significantly in 2022, increasing domestic supply and driving prices down. 

Housing Market

The housing market remains hot, keeping lumber demand high. As COVID-19 continues to impact the U.S., a large portion of the population is continuing to invest in the spaces where they spend the most time–their homes. Demand for lumber first rose significantly in 2020 and is expected to remain high, but no need to fret. Acknowledging this, the U.S. lumber industry is looking to meet builders’ and buyers’ needs alike by investing in new production facilities and sawmills in the new year. 

So, what can soon-to-be custom homeowners do to make sure fluctuating lumber prices don’t drive up the price of your custom build or remodel? The best thing you can do is start talking to your home builder as soon as possible! Your home builder should work with you to create your custom home well within your budget–especially as the cost of supplies continues to fluctuate. Here at LaFollette, we like a good deal, and we know you do, too–we’ll monitor the markets to source all materials including lumber at the lowest possible cost. 

When you need a home builder that understands your family’s dreams and desires, you can trust our family at LaFollette Custom Homes. Give us a call at 979-589-8343 or contact us at for a consultation! 



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