Lumber urgently wanted

Storms, drought and bark beetles are affecting the Hessian forest. Many slopes have to be cleared. But tradespeople and property developers complain: Lumber is still scarce and more expensive than ever.

Clear-cutting: In the Taunus, many trees had to be felled.  Even so, there is not enough wood to meet the high demand.

WOthers in the Taunus know this shocking experience: Formerly wooded slopes are as if swept empty, the felled wood is stacked meters high on the edge of the farm roads. The drought and the bark beetle are affecting the Hessian forest. The result: it has to be cleared. So there should actually be a glut of wood. But the opposite is true. The building material is scarce and expensive as never before. Carpenters hardly know where to get the slats for their roof trusses from. Property developers are sounding the alarm, especially since there is not only a lack of wood, but also steel and insulation materials for their construction sites. This is due to the construction boom in this country and also on the world market: In America and China, higher prices are paid. Many trunks and boards from German forests are shipped overseas in containers.

Procurement is becoming more and more difficult and time-consuming, complains Ralf Sadowski, managing director of the Wilma real estate group in the Rhine-Main area. His housing company builds houses for medium-sized companies. The prices for wood have doubled since November, says Sadowski. He suspects that the shortage is partly created artificially – similar to the “toilet paper effect” at the beginning of the Corona crisis. “We suspect that some people are hoarding and their warehouses are full.” The prices are just as unreliable as the delivery times. Suppliers agreed daily prices. “Those involved in the construction industry are becoming commodity speculators,” says Sadowski. The developers often bear the risk because they have agreed fixed sales prices for their apartments with their customers.