In July, the Business Record reported that 25% more building permits for single-family houses were issued during the first half of 2020 compared with the same period a year ago.

Nationally, the number of single-family building permits were up 2.3%.

Sawmills weren’t prepared for the uptick in demand for lumber, report Julia-Ambra Verlaine and Ryan Dezember for the Wall Street Journal

As a result, prices for wood products are skyrocketing. Consumers, stuck at home because of the pandemic, are taking on home improvement projects that need lumber such as building decks and room additions. Historically low home mortgage rates are helping to push people off the fence about buying newly built houses.

“Our sales folks are spending three, four, five hours a day, dealing with customers that don’t have any inventory,” Christopher McIver, vice president of sales and marketing at West Fraser Timber Co., North America’s largest lumber producer, told the Journal. “Whether it’s in plywood or whether it’s in lumber, everybody is still very, very short, including the box stores.”