If you are in the market for any type of wood—from plywood or sheeting to standard 2x4s, be prepared for a massive sticker shock. U.S. lumber futures contracts for May 2021 delivery were priced at $1,645 per 1,000 board feet, about 60% higher than they were a month ago and 374% above the $347 contract price average in May 2020. This marks the fastest rise since the housing boom that followed World War II.
With a shortage of inventory of homes for sale in pretty much every U.S. market, the construction industry had risen. But with lumber prices soaring, starts are well below their previous highs.