Americans are coughing up $4,600 more on average to buy their dream home than six months ago, thanks to a record run-up in prices for a once-cheap plywood substitute.
Prices are on a tear for those bonded wood-chip sheets commonly used as sheathing for walls, floors and roofs in new home construction. Oriented Strand Board, or OSB, has long been used as a low-cost alternative to plywood, but the product now fetches a higher price as increased demand and tight supplies lead to delivery delays and elevated construction costs in the United States and Canada.
“It’s difficult to get, the lead times are out,” said Lorne Winship, general manager at Pacific Homes, a West Coast builder specializing in custom prefabricated homes, adding that the premium over plywood is “absolutely crazy.”
While the rally is hurting builders and buyers of new houses who already suffered from surging lumber prices earlier this