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Spike in lumber costs puts the wood to homebuilders, contractors (access required)

By Caitlin Coakley CHARLOTTE —If a feeble market and increased competition weren’t sufficiently testing residential contractors, now the high price of lumber is whacking them. The price has increased 22 percent since the beginning of the year, the National Association of Home Builders reports. As of Jan. 1, the price per 1,000 board feet of lumber was $248, according to the Oregon-based lumber-price tracker Random Lengths. By mid-February, the cost reached a 4-year high of $317. It since has leveled off to $303 as of March 5, but homebuilders are expressing concern that the increased costs will deter potential buyers.

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