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Volatile lumber prices create unpredictable conditions for Las Vegas builders, buyers

Posted at 2:17 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 17:24:36-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Russian invasion of Ukraine is impacting the U.S. in many ways, and now the supply chain for building materials is taking a hit.

Experts say the price of lumber continues to go up significantly, and with sanctions placed on one of the largest providers of wood in the world, they expect the cost to get worse.

With those factors at play, it would be an understatement to say things are tough for local developers and builders right now, and they fear what will happen next.

"For a 4-by-8 sheet of plywood, we used to pay $10 a sheet. Now we pay $100," said Tamir Saham of Lawrence Homes and Development Corp.

Saham says the price for lumber continues to go up significantly. In December of last year, it was up 300%. Now it's going up 10% more every week, he says.

"A lumber package that we priced out two weeks ago that was in the $140,000 to $150,000 range is now close to $200,000-plus," Saham said.

Market insiders say Russia's invasion of Ukraine is one a reason for this price surge. Since the attack began, prices have jumped approximately 14%. Sanctions have been placed on Russia, one of the largest lumber exporters in the world.

Saham says the impact on us will be significant.

"A lot of people are purchasing futures and commodities specifically in wood flooring, so we will probably see that go up in price as well," he said.

So, what does that mean for us here in the valley? Windom Kimsey, president and CEO of TSK Architects, says this means the cost for homes and other construction will increase.

"If you are on the development side," he said, "you are looking for some certainty in what you are going to spend, but it is a very volatile market right now."

Home prices won't be the only thing impacted. The remodeling industry is getting hit just as bad, if not worse.

"The remodeling industry has been hit by the supply chain even more than new construction, due to cost in scheduling," Saham said.

Previously, it might have cost about $30,000 to add cabinets to your entire kitchen. Now, it's more than $50,000, Saham said.

"In my opinion, nothing is going to slow down in the near future," he said.

If you are planning to do a remodel, Saham says you need to be aware of the supplies you are buying, as some may take up to four months to arrive. He suggests, especially during the uncertainty coming from this invasion, holding off on any major purchases until things settle down a bit.