Pandemic, high demand leads to lumber shortage

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 4:18 PM AKDT
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An Anchorage lumber company says the pandemic is causing a shortage of lumber and pressure-treated wood across the community.

James Enochs, the operations manager at Northland Wood says it’s a problem of supply and demand.

“It has created a perfect storm for a supply issue, people are staying home out of a job right now and they are spending all their time building on their houses, any existing issues, they are fixing them and stuff like that,” he said.

Emily Lyon is among the Alaskans taking advantage of the pandemic to get those long-awaited projects finished.

“I am working on doing some benches and some wide tables with some white spruce and I use hairpin legs, and I'm also going to be working on shelving,” Lyon said.

The problem of supply is also partly due to manufacturing companies shutting down during the pandemic for safety reasons, resulting in reduced supplies.

Builders and contractors have to wait longer for supplies to arrive from the Lower 48.

“Curtailment from the manufactures shutting down, especially treatment facilities, even the box stores are running out of treated material right now,” Enochs said.

He says prices have gone up 20%, but even then, business is booming.

“The local customers have kept us in business this summer. If it wasn't for the local customers being unfortunately out of a job, but coming in and buying product to work on projects,” he added.

And there’s a favorite project that many Alaskans are taking on this summer.

“Gardening is a big one this year,” Enochs said.

Its in-house materials have not been affected because the company buys its supply during the winter months, Enochs says.

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