Share story

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Lumber prices in Fairbanks have hit an all-time high.

Fairbanks lumber store Northland Wood is selling sheets of plywood commonly used for the exterior of new homes for $23.50 each, up from $16.95 five years ago, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported . Eight-foot (2.4-meter) planks of lumber, 2-inch (5.1-centimeter) by 6-inch (15.2-centimeter), used to build walls, cost $6.64 each, up from $5.17 five years ago, according to the newspaper.

Lumber prices did not decrease last winter, as is typical for prices during the cold weather season when construction slows, Northland President Jason Knoles said.

“Shipping has gone nothing but up as well,” he said. “It’s impactful, but it’s not devastating in my mind. It seems like people are still building.”

The National Association of Home Builders estimates the rising cost of lumber has increased the price of an average single-family home by $7,000. The organization is encouraging members to pressure federal lawmakers to find a long-term solution to a trade dispute with Canada that is driving up lumber prices.

“We need a solution now to protect the home building industry and consumers from tariffs that are raising production costs and harming home buyers,” the association said in a statement on its website.

Steel and other essential building materials also are reportedly getting more expensive, said former Interior Alaska Building Association President Aaron Welterlen.

Welterlen said new starter homes are becoming more expensive to build than what banks are willing to finance.

But that hasn’t slowed work for home builders.

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel said the number of building permits, zoning permits and residential plats in the borough is up from recent years.

Builders are staying busy with custom homes, remodels and commercial contracts.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner,