SASKATOON -- Arnold Reimer has worked in the lumber industry for 35 years and says this year has been difficult because supply has diminished and demand is on the rise.

“As a business owner I am working a lot of extra hours to get material, trying to get through this.”

According to Reimer the price of lumber before the pandemic was what he called “steady” because demand was low, however once the pandemic began families were kept at home with many completing renovations.

“It turns out that the pandemic caused a surge in home building and deck building and renovations more than we have ever seen and we are cleaned out of materials,” said Reimer.

Reimer says an eight-foot four-by-eight OSB panel could rise to $27 or $28 from $13 to $15 depending on the location.

“Margins have dropped and we are not terribly profitable at this time and no one could be after such a wild ride,” said Reimer.

Chris Guerrett from the Saskatoon Home Builders Association says if the cost of lumber continues to rise it could also raise prices on homes.

“We are digging into it because the concern is that when you have such a sharp increase in any kind of supply such as a house, that will affect the price and affordability will be eroded,” said Guerrett.

The Forest Products Association of Canada says they are aware of the shortage and are hopeful that the supply will increase in the upcoming weeks however Reimer is not convinced that will happen.

“When you work in a market that is moving up 200 percent in three months we have no way to forecast what to expect,” said Reimer.