By Paul Martino

MARSHALL TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – If you plan on building a new home or renovating your current one in the near future, get ready for sticker shock. The price of lumber is soaring.

It’s rising so fast, contractors are having trouble predicting how much the job will cost.

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Lumber prices have risen as much as 200 percent in the past year and there’s no end in sight. In the meantime, prices on homes are going up too.

The National Association of Home Builders estimates the average price of a new home has gone up nearly $25,000 so far this year and it keeps rising.

The reason: lumber. It’s the bones of any home.

“Two by fours, two by tens, truss joists, have gone up well over a hundred percent,” said developer Ron Heurich.

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Heurich is building several homes in the Mallard Pond Development in Marshall Township. He’s selling new, upscale homes. But he can’t predict his lumber costs.

(Photo: KDKA)

“A piece of particle board, $9 a sheet last year. If you go to the store now, it’s gonna be probably at least $33 a sheet, minimum,” he said.

What’s causing the price hike?

Lumber plants closed during the pandemic, tariffs on Canada and China jacked up prices and low-interest rates have increased demand. For now, many contractors can’t guarantee their prices. So some are putting escalator clauses in their contracts.

“We’ve basically gotten stuck eating a lot of costs. But with new contracts, we have to be aware that things do go up,” said Heurich.

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And it’s not just new homes. Renovation projects or just adding a new deck has gotten extremely expensive. Even so, with low-interest rates, consumers continue to buy new homes.