Depending on where you get your information, you might think lumber prices are falling. Some are and some are not.

In the western United States we use a lot of green (not dry) and dry 2x4 thru 2x12 Douglas Fir for framing buildings along with a grade of plywood called CDX. And while these commodities have been coming down for a month (give or take) or so, they still have a ways to go before prices are at pre-pandemic levels.

Most other costs such as redwood, steel rebar, sheetrock, insulation or anything related to building are going up.

While it is important to me to buy domestic products and support an American worker, I still must buy some imported products to fill my bins. One product that comes to mind is a plywood product that originates in Russia called Baltic Birch. I recently considered not buying 3/4" 4x8 Sheets of Baltic Birch Plywood because it retails for about $170 per sheet today versus $72 (give or take) a year ago. Russia would much rather sell this product to Europe than the United States.

This particular plywood product, like many other imported building materials, comes in a container. The Wall Street Journal will tell you the average price of a container from China to California is $6,043 or 344% more since the start of the Pandemic.

The lesson to be learned (will we learn?) is when you depend on an imported product, the country of origin has you exactly where they want you.They control the price and supply, not us.

If we are smart, next time we go shopping, we will make a greater effort to support products made in America.

David Thom

San Carlos

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(1) comment

Terence Y

Unfortunately, Mr. Thom. America is suffering and will continue to suffer under bungling Biden’s America Last policy. In addition to inflation, we also need to be aware of shrinkflation – paying the same amount for less, as in hot dogs being sold in a pack (7 instead of the usual 8). I’m waiting for hot dog buns to be sold in packs of 7 instead of 8. Nobody likes an extra hot dog bun. We soon may not have a choice.

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