The timber shortage has brought price hikes and delays, but there is good news as supply increases.
A timber shortage which has frustrated homebuilders all year is “highly likely” to be over, according to the Timber Trade Federation (TTF).
This, the TTF says, is nearly two million cubic metres more than in the same period in 2020, and half a million (or 8%) above pre-Covid levels in 2019.
The TTF has warned, however, that challenges remain to ensure builders access timber materials, and that materials shortages continue to be felt across the industry.
Timber Shortage Still Impacted by Driver Shortages
The record-breaking volumes of timber imports this year reflect high demand, but shortages elsewhere of HGV drivers and tradespeople means problems remain in delivering this timber to building sites.
MORE: 89% of Builders Have to Delay Jobs)
Nick Boulton, head of technical and trade at TTF, warned: “We are not yet out the woods as any return to ‘regular’ patterns within the UK market will be difficult amidst the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers, and in fuel and labour, which are likely to continue to impact the market in the coming months.
“These shortages are of high concern to the timber supply chain as while there may now be enough timber in the UK to meet demand it does little good to anyone when there are no means to transport stock from ports to warehouses or customers.”
Prices Remain High Too
Timber prices have steadily risen over the last year. Imported plywood costs have been particularly affected, surging in price by 81.7% in July compared to July 2020, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
And earlier this year, the average price of sawn and planed softwood in May, June and July had yearly increases of 55%, 65% and 88% respectively.
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