More people want fences, despite rising costs

Homeowners are apparently seeking more security and privacy in their homes, and that has sparked a big jump in demand for fences.

The sudden jump in demand for residential fences, plus a shortage of lumber and other fencing materials means that prices have been driven much higher, and buyers face a longer wait for them to be installed, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

One Los Angeles-based company, called Harwell Fencing, said it has seen a 60% increase in inquiries from people looking to put up a fence since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Its owner, Arian Harwell, told the Journal that most buyers are homeowners looking to install “wall toppers”. A wall topper is essentially a small wooden fence that sits at the top of a masonry wall, the idea being to add more height and give homeowners a greater sense of privacy.

The most common fencing material used today is wood, according to data from Home Innovation Research Lab’s 2019 report. But pressure-treated wood, which is most commonly used in fences, now costs about three-times as much as it did at the start of the year, thanks to the increased price of lumber and higher demand. These costs are being passed on to homeowners, who’re paying higher prices to get a fence installed.

Interestingly, Home Innovation Research Labs said in its report that wood is one of the least durable fencing materials, and requires more upkeep and repair.

Alternative fence materials, such as PVC and other plastics, are also gaining in popularity. Metal fences are too, but they only account for 2% of the overall fence materials that are used.

The Journal advises homeowners who’re considering installing a fence to follow approval protocols before the go ahead. Many homeowners are required to get approval from their community’s homeowners association, and some may also be required to complete a survey prior to the installation to ensure there’s no conflict over boundaries with their neighbors.

Finally, some homeowners might be required to obtain a permit from their municipality before they can install a fence.

About Mike Wheatley

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at