Widespread shortage of key construction materials sees online auction prices skyrocket

The widespread shortage of key construction products is seeing prices on online auctions skyrocket. 

An auction on Trade Me for 23 sheets of GIB plasterboard has attracted bids of $3260, while the same haul at Bunnings would normally set you back $777.86.

That means the eventual winner of the Trade Me auction will pay more than four times the usual retail price.

Widespread shortage of key construction materials sees online auction prices skyrocket
Photo credit: Trade Me

Other auctions have bids of $6050 for 50 sheets of plasterboard, $2669 for 18 sheets and $1210 for 10 sheets - all at least three times the retail price. 

Trade Me head of marketplace Lisa Steward said there was "no doubt" the building and renovation section of the website was feeling the effects of supply chain shortages.

Steward said in the building supplies category, the average sale price in February was up 27 percent year-on-year.

"In February we saw a 7 percent year-on-year increase in the number of listings in the building supplies category onsite," Steward said.

"However, we actually saw a slight decrease in the number of items that sold in the building supplies category last month, down 2 percent when compared with February 2021.

"If we zoom in on the panels & boards category, last month we saw a 49 percent increase in the number of items that sold compared with February 2021."

Steward said Trade Me is currently seeing increased demand for plasterboards onsite, with listing views in the plasterboard category trending more than any other category onsite.

Combined Building Supplies Co-Coperative chairperson Carl Taylor told RNZ in February that the delays were the result of increased demand as residential building consents hit record highs, a scarcity of labour needed to make the materials and a shortage of the materials needed to make specific building products.

Taylor singled out GIB plasterboard, saying its lead time was now hitting May or June.

"If we can't get the materials we can't work, plain and simple," he said.

A spokesperson for PlaceMakers, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, told Stuff they are "redirecting orders where necessary". 

"Where sites are not ready to install​, we are redirecting [plasterboard] to other builds that are ready to keep our supply chain moving."

The spokesperson said that it would take time to work through the backlog but a new allocation model to be introduced in July would also help to address the issue long-term.