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Coronavirus drives lumber prices up sharply. What that’s doing to Boise-area home prices

The cost of lumber has more than tripled in the past five months, adding to the cost of new homes and do-it-yourself projects.

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As of Monday, lumber prices had risen 170% since the middle of April, said Steve Martinez, owner of Tradewinds General Contracting in Boise.

“That equates to a $16,000 increase in the cost of an average new home,” Martinez said by phone.

Demand was high before the coronavirus pandemic struck in mid-March, when one-fourth to one-third of Northwest mills shuts down for several weeks, cutting the supply, Martinez said. He serves on the finance committee of the National Association of Homebuilders and is former president of the Building Contractors Association of Southwestern Idaho .

The closures came amid moves to obey pandemic health regulations and because of an anticipated drop in demand, the National Association of Homebuilders said.

Boise Cascade Co, a wood-products manufacturer based in

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