A customer heads out with a load of lumber recently from Black Lumber on Bloomington’s south side. (Rich Janzaruk / Herald-Times)
A customer heads out with a load of lumber recently from Black Lumber on Bloomington’s south side. (Rich Janzaruk / Herald-Times)
Pests, fires, transportation challenges and the pandemic constrained North America’s lumber supply at the same time that demand for new home construction and remodeling spiked, pushing the price of wood far beyond its previous record high.

Lumber traditionally has cost near $300 for 1,000 board feet, and it hit a record high of about $550 in 2019. During the pandemic, prices have soared above $1,200.

“It’s not only a historic high. It’s twice a historic high,” said Pete Stewart, president and CEO of Forest2Market, a North Carolina-based wood industry consultancy.

The high prices have made new home construction and remodels much more expensive than a year ago. A local builder told The Herald-Times his construction material costs have increased 58% in the past year, including 34% in the past three months alone.

Bloomington officials are trying to address home availability and affordability with sweeping changes of the city’s zoning laws. Next week the city council will begin, in earnest, its discussion of some of the more controversial aspects of the changes, which include allowing duplexes in areas that in recent decades have allowed only single-family homes. That virtual meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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