As people adjusted to being home full-time in 2020, home remodeling became more popular. Because of supply problems brought on by the pandemic, the supply of building materials was limited.  Increased demand for building materials further limited the supply, and the cost of building materials soared. It was affecting not only remodelers but new home construction as well.

Increases of 50 percent, or more, compared to 2019 levels were not uncommon.

The most popular home improvements and those that  increased the most in price

Since homeowners were at home, they focused on making their homes suit their needs better. Bathroom remodels, painting, landscaping, flooring, and kitchen improvements were the most popular.

One factor behind all of this was the virtual collapse in home listings. People were cautious about the prospect of strangers walking through their homes during the pandemic.  With the option of selling their home limited in this way, people turned to remodel instead of completely replacing their home.

The most popular project was painting.

Painting has always been seen as an inexpensive way to change the look of your home, and it was the most popular remodel in 2020. The price of paint stayed pretty stable in 2020.

The Price of Lumber and Other Materials

Paul Emrath, vice president of survey and housing policy research at the National Association of Home Builders, says, “We’ve got increases in material prices, lumber is the one that’s gotten the most attention, but it’s extremely broad-based. Copper wiring, steel, tile, whatever it is, prices are going up.”

Compounding the problem is a labor shortage in construction workers.  In addition, some local Covid -19 restrictions limited the number of construction workers that could be on a site.

The Good News

As reported by CNBC News, “Lumber prices dive more than 40% in June, biggest monthly drop on record.”  While these prices have not reached the consumer yet, it is still good news for construction and remodeling projects nationwide.  Economists seem to agree that supply has increased above demand, bringing down prices in lumber.

As more and more people go back to work, the supply of other building materials will likely also increase, and that prices will probably come down in the next few months.