The gradual recovery of the building and remodeling industries is being slowed by high prices for lumber. However, there is a plentiful, sustainable alternative in beetle-kill wood that needs more government and consumer support.
The US Census Bureau reported 20 percent more new construction in March 2010 over March 2009. However, Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction trade group, reported higher costs for materials for all that new construction.
Lumber prices jumped 11 percent in the first quarter of 2010, and 24 percent from March 2009 to March 2010. Random Lengths, which closely tracks North American lumber prices and sets futures prices, releases a weekly average price for 1,000 board-feet of lumber. The price reached $353 on April 16, the highest price since May 2006.