“I’VE NEVER SEEN IT LIKE THIS”: Construction industry grappling with supply shortages and “crazy high” materials price hikes

“I’VE NEVER SEEN IT LIKE THIS”: Construction industry grappling with supply shortages and “crazy high” materials price hikes

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A “crazy high” price hike of as much as 50 percent on certain building materials and supplies amid the pandemic could persist until summer, according to one local retailer who told Eyewitness News he has “never seen the prices like this”.

Anthony Roberts, City Lumber Yard general manager, said: “The prices are not escalating like they were. They seem to have leveled somewhat but it is anticipated that plywood prices will continue at these high levels at least until the summer.

“The lumber prices are doing the same thing. The supply chain continues to give us challenges with certain types of materials. They are difficult to get. You can order, but you have to wait in line.

“A number of our manufacturers are experiencing delays in raw materials and these delays have translated to stock outages here at the retail level.

“We’re hopeful that things will get a bit better. The pricing levels that are in the market, I have never seen them in all the years. I’ve never seen the prices like this.”

COVID-19 lockdown orders and closures, new safety protocols which slowed production at mills, a spike in home remodeling in the US in addition to a massive wildfire season in the United States have all been noted as reasons for the lumber shortage.

Roberts said: “The prices vary with different commodities but we have seen prices going up 50 percent on some commodities and higher. In the construction industry, that is a major blow. It’s happening here and in the US.

“The demand remains very high. I can’t get the plywood that I need when I want it. I have to wait in line, basically. The prices are crazy high.”

Leonard Sands, a former Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) president, told Eyewitness News it is difficult to gauge how much the current price hikes will impact new home construction but the difference will be noticeable.

“I can say that contractors have been absorbing the cost increase because contracts had already been worked out in many instances,” said Sands.

“From last March until now, prices began to creep up. While you’re working and sourcing materials, you notice the increases and you can’t make any adjustments because contracts are fixed.

“In many instances, contractors are taking a hit. I think now new home construction will see a slight increase in the cost reflected in the cost on ground. I don’t know if it’s enough for persons to say they can’t go ahead but I know it’s for people to take notice.”