The cost of housing, and now the cost of building materials, is certainly a big topic of conversation here in Montana.

It seemed like just a couple weeks ago, I was talking with local builders and contractors chatting about the high cost of OSB; it's three times what it was roughly a year ago, they would say. Now, it's closer to five times what it was roughly a year ago.

The reality though, is that the price of lumber nosedived across the country once the pandemic officially kicked off. As Fox Business reports, lumber prices hit a low back in April of 2020, but have now rebounded by 395%.

What happened since April of 2020? Well, of course everyone was stuck at home, and they weren't traveling for vacation. Combine that with COVID stimulus checks, and folks were spending a lot of money on home projects.

Adding to that phenomenon here in Montana was the fact that lots of folks wanted to escape the big lockdown cities and move to Big Sky Country.

That's what makes this Montana-specific news even more interesting. As Evelyn Pyburn reports for the Big Sky Business Journal Hot Sheet:

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research predicts that 2021 will be a “generally positive” year for the lumber business.” Lumber and plywood demand is expected to remain strong and prices remain historically high.

“Remarkably, sales from Montana’s industry during 2020 were up about 15% compared to 2019 because of the higher prices for wood products.”

Catch Evelyn Pyburn on Montana Talks with Aaron Flint every Monday morning a little after 7 a.m. for our "Back to Business" segment. I'd also encourage you to sign up for both the Big Sky Business Journal print publication, and the Hot Sheet email that comes out every Monday morning.


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