22 Sep

What’s Happening With Material Prices?

It’s been over 18 months since Boris Johnson announced the first COVID-induced UK lockdown, yet material prices continue to rise. The pandemic has produced ripple effects that are still impacting supply chains today, but it’s not only COVID that has had an effect. It has been suggested that prices may continue to rise for quite some time, but exactly how much have prices risen by in the past year? 

Prices are rising across the board

Timber prices have been rising steadily since May of last year and were up again one whole year later, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Year on year, timber prices are up a whopping 80%.

And it’s not just timber that’s risen in price.

Overall, materials costs were 10.2% higher in May 2021 than they were the year earlier. 

So what exactly has caused these prices to rise so much?

The DIY Boom

While supply for materials is at a worrying low, demand is at a dizzying high. With little else to do over lockdown, many homeowners have turned to DIY as a newfound hobby.

From a lick of paint to a new shelf, lockdown has ignited the DIYer inside of all of us. While it may have been good for our mental health, everyone’s latest hobby has put a strain on an already dwindling market supply.

The Brexit Bust

Amid the chaos of the pandemic was another major event: Brexit.

Leaving the European Union has altered international demand and shipping costs, which is slowing deliveries and, therefore, reducing supply.

Plus, many businesses have stockpiled and are continuing to stockpile materials in anticipation of a further Brexit-induced supply shock. This has perpetuated demand during a period that is already seeing significant orders.

Legislation changes have also put a strain on the supply and cost of raw materials. For example, heat-treated materials like pallets and crate boxes are increasingly in demand due to changes in legislation around UK to EU shipments using wooden packaging.

The COVID Bedlam

The effects of the pandemic are still being felt to this day. Reduced staff, border closures and financial difficulties have all contributed to inefficient supply chains.  Shipping costs have also increased, which has placed additional financial strain on suppliers.

These price issues are affecting merchants nationwide. While outside of their control, many merchants are doing all they can to increase supply and match demand while staying transparent with their customers. Hitchcock & King, one of London’s leading builders merchants, has been fortunate to have the resources to fulfil orders as best they can. With quick turnarounds, great stock availability and a wide range of products, Hitchcock & King continue to support domestic and commercial customers in London with building equipment and supplies, as they have for the past 50 years.

Check out Hitchcock & King for all your DIY needs.