By Lorie Ham
The cost of everything seems to have gone up during the pandemic. According to an NBC News Consumer article in March of 2021, Price Index data for the month of January found that the cost of food eaten at home rose 3.7 percent from a year ago — more than double the 1.4 percent year-over-year increase in the prices of all goods included in the Consumer Price Index.
Everywhere you go now you see higher prices—whether it be at the fast food drive through, picking up groceries and other supplies, or getting take-out from your local restaurant. A shortage in workers, a shortage in products due to temporary shutdowns of businesses, and a higher demand for some products due to a change in lifestyle caused by the pandemic, are just some of the many reasons for the spike in costs.
Another area that has seen a significant price hike is in building or repairing a home. The cost of lumber alone has gone up significantly. According to the Trading Economics website, since last spring lumber prices have risen more than 180% as the stay-at-home lifestyle has encouraged homeowners to expand or remodel their existing dwellings, and low mortgage rates exacerbated the home-building spree. The sustained rush of lumber buying caught sawmills and wholesalers by surprise at a time when Covid-19 restrained production, pushing prices up to record levels.
According to an article on the e2Value website, the pandemic has brought about an increased demand for home improvements/remodeling and a focus on outdoor areas of the home. Because people have been traveling less, they are spending less so they have more money to do these improvements. They also have more time to do the work themselves rather than bring contractors into their homes.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) produces a quarterly Remodeling Market Index to assess remodeling activity among its members. The 2020 Q4 results showed significant increases over the 2020 Q1 results.
Chuck Bohn, one of the owners of Reedley Lumber, has seen this all first hand. “The building material that by far has increased the most has been lumber. The price of lumber overall has tripled in about 14 months. Lumber prices are based on supply and demand and the pandemic hurt the supply side in several ways, mill shutdowns, trucking shortages, etc. The demand increased, more homes being built because of low inventories of existing homes, [and] do it yourself home and yard projects increased greatly.”
Other building supplies have gone up in price as well. “If you leave lumber out of the equation I would estimate a 15-20% increase on hardware and other building materials,” continues Bohn. “Steel products have gone up considerably but maybe not all pandemic related. We saw a lot of steel price increases due to trade issues before the pandemic started.”
Unfortunately, the rising costs aren’t a trend that will be changing any time soon, even though more things are opening up. To be prepared for the high costs of repairing your home due to an emergency, make sure you have the insurance coverage that you need. Give Mennonite Insurance a call and we will be glad to help 559-638-2327. Or find out more information about what types of insurance you may need.