Canadian Forest Service Publications
Why are lumber prices so high? 2021. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa. 2 p.
Issued by: National Capital Region
Catalog ID: 40376
Series: Science-Policy Notes (CFS)
Availability: PDF (download)
This note explains current high lumber prices in Canada and the United States.
Plain Language Summary
Lumber prices in Canada and the United States have recently reached record highs. Prices are so high because builders and homeowners are buying up very large amounts of lumber, and producers have not been able to increase production quickly enough to meet the demand. Consumers are buying lumber for new home construction and residential repair and remodelling projects. These activities started ramping up after the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and remain very strong today. Despite high prices, it is not easy for lumber companies to increase production rapidly. They must consider a variety of market factors (for example, availability of timber and labour), as well as plan and carry out expansion projects. Lumber production in Canada and the U.S. has not increased significantly from pre-pandemic levels, and is not expected to before early 2022. High lumber prices are benefitting Canada’s lumber producers, alongside their workers and communities with sawmills. At the same time, they are difficult for consumers to manage. In Canada, market forces determine the price of lumber. So, supply must increase or demand must fall before prices will decrease substantially.
Also available under the title:
Pourquoi les prix du bois sont-ils si élevés? (French)