As we look to the second half of the year, there has been a noticeable uptick in pricing, with most materials more expensive than at this point last year.

The most dramatic increases have been in the lumber, copper, and steel markets, which have been beset by heightened demand and supply chain issues. Lumber in particular has almost doubled in value over the last 12 months, driven by the booming housing market and reduced availability of timber. These increases are likely to be short-lived, however, and we expect prices to begin falling by the end of the summer. It is important to note that an 85% increase in the cost of lumber does not translate to an 85% increase in the overall cost of supply and installation, it is nevertheless significant.

Copper is expected to remain higher than before the pandemic for the foreseeable future, but we believe that it is either at or just past its peak. It will likely decline slightly as 2021 draws to a close before levelling off early next year. Moving forward, the key factor will be supply chains and in particular their ability to deliver materials across international borders. Delivery schedules remain longer than normal, as the pandemic has wreaked havoc across the logistics industry. This will likely carry through the end of the year, as eased pressure from ecommerce will coincide with a traditional uptick in inventory in anticipation of the holiday season.

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