By Andrew Khouri, Carly Olson, Andrew Mendez
From Los Angeles Times
At times, bills are coming in thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over estimate. In the most extreme cases, projects have come to a screeching halt as prices spiral out of control.
Ken Kahan, president of developer California Landmark Group, said he paused work on a 50-plus unit apartment project in the Los Angeles area after a lumber bid came in triple the original projection. “When you look at commodities do that—either the world is turning upside down or there is just a gyration that just needs to settle down.”
Kahan hopes to restart the project in coming months if lumber prices stabilize, but analysts said pricing is likely to remain elevated for a prolonged period because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the coronavirus started to spread in the United States last year, lumber suppliers assumed demand would plunge, and they stalled production accordingly. Distributors followed this lead, stopped buying lumber and sold off inventories.
But the companies predicted wrong. Many Americans, stuck spending more time at home, decided they wanted a change and sought to remodel. Others sought out a newly built home, including well-off renters who wanted more space and a yard. Those kinds of…