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'Never seen anything like it' | Mid-South lumber companies deal with supply crunch, skyrocketing prices & impacted home projects

Cost increases are being passed down from manufacturers, making small or large wood projects and repairs more expensive and challenging.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Whether it's minor or major home projects or home prices, the international supply crisis is hammering local lumber supplies and forcing unprecedented price surges.

It's impacting consumers and longstanding Mid-South companies, including Tom Eubanks Lumber Company in Memphis' Binghampton community, which is scrambling to get product in stock and keep prices affordable.

"I've been here since 1968 and I've never seen anything like it," Tom Eubanks said. "There are items to this day that we cannot obtain. The price of lumber in the spring of 2021, this past year, went up 200, 300, and sometimes approaching 400%."

That supply crunch is testing the company - founded in 1965 - like no other time in recent memory. 

Some types of wood this week were just one-third the typical amount usually on hand.

"If you are out of 2 x 4's, it's like a store not having bread or milk," Eubanks added.

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The low supply is impacting demand from the company's customer base, which includes home builders, insurance repair crews, or those buying wood for renovations or fences.

"When materials or commodities or everyday items go up like this, it means the average person doesn't have as much disposable income as they used to have and that is bad," Eubanks said.

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That uncertainty with price inflation affects all of us and could mean families must hold off for now in buying a home or completing a long awaited project.

"I wanted to put an addition on my house, but now I can't afford it because I waited around and the materials priced me out of the market," Eubanks said.

A spokesperson with the National Hardwood Lumber Association - based in Memphis - said it will take a long time for the industry to catch up, since it's still dealing with labor shortages of wood cutters, mill workers, and lumber truck drivers.

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