Skyrocketing lumber prices, aluminum shortages impacting Habitat for Humanity affordable housing project

Michael Lozano Image
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Skyrocketing lumber prices impact NC affordable housing projects
Rising lumber prices and aluminum shortages are making it more difficult for Fayetteville's Habitat for Humanity to build affordable homes

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Rising lumber prices and aluminum shortages are making it more difficult for the Fayetteville Habitat for Humanity to build affordable homes

Ron Gunter, the CEO for the nonprofit, sat down with ABC11 to speak about the impact of the hot commodities.

"Prices are changing daily. It's not something we can budget for because they're changing so quickly," said gunter.

Habitat for Humanity has been working to build 47 affordable homes in the Oakridge Estates for quite some time. Gunter said the high demand for lumber and aluminum has hit their pocket books.

"Now, what used to cost us $106,000 to build is costing us $124,000 to build," Gunter said.

The $18,000 increase is one that many homeowners and buyers are dealing with too.

Builders Bargain Center of Fayetteville told ABC11 the high demand and little supply is creating prices hikes on all types of lumber, pushing out the every day person from being able to afford enough product for certain projects.

Price of lumber continues to skyrocket due in part to pandemic

Professor Tim Kraft, a supply chain logistics expert with NC State University, told ABC11 manufacturers slowed down production during the pandemic because they expected spending not to be there; that reality was not the case.

"This created this gap between the supply and demand. Now, as the economy starts to re-open and we start to see the housing boom, the gap starts to get bigger and bigger," Kraft said. He said some of that gap was created by homeowners using their stimulus to remodel their homes and with business owners creating patios to adhere to CDC guidelines.

"What's fascinating about right now is that it's across the board, and there's so many different commodities that are being hit and it's all at once," Kraft said.

Aluminum is another commodity in the same boat. Just this week, the NC DMV announced they're suspending the replacement of older license plates to keep up with the demand of first time plate productions.

NCDMV suspends replacement of older license plates amid aluminum shortage

Kraft says he's unsure when we could see the supply and demand balance out saying, "It's hard to know if this is just economies trying to catch up, this is just economies trying to get back to speed."

Gunter said their nonprofit will continue to find ways to keep these homes affordable and rely on donations and grants to complete their project at the Oakridge Estates.

"We're scheduled to complete that project in November - which is another 17 homes," Gunter said.