The pandemic continues to have a major impact in industries around the world. Steel prices and stocks are up 200% since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.

As of July of this year, steel was listed at around $1,825 per ton, which is triple the amount it’s been on average over the past 20 years. Experts are saying such high prices might sustain for a good while.

But why have they risen so dramatically and when may we expect them to drop again?

As with almost every industry, nearly all manufacturers were compelled to shut down during the global pandemic. Due to layoffs and lack of supply, this slowdown trickled into the housing market, distribution functions, and other facets of the reeling economy.

Many steel and metal building companies were dramatically affected by increases in prices as well. According to General Steel Buildings, a leading firm in metal building construction, three factors had a direct impact on the overall cost of metal buildings.

1. Building design and customizations

2. The price of steel

3. Economies of scale

The price of steel is dictated by supply and demand, tariffs, natural disasters, and the value of the dollar. During the initial phases of the lockdown, instead of saving for and going on family vacations, more Americans chose to start home projects such as renovations and appliance upgrades.

Others looked to expand their home or build metal additions separate from their residential structure to provide more space conducive to the multiple functions of their stay-at-home needs.

People needed to create extra spaces for use as multiple work-from-home offices and educational areas indoors; and in some cases their exterior property for after-school programs. People lost jobs at levels far beyond what the nation had seen in a long time.

Because of that, some were unable to afford rent or mortgage payments and were forced to cohabitate with other family members.

Most of the renovations and upgrades required a greater use of lumber, which also saw its own tough issues across the industry during the pandemic. But it also meant there was a massive rise in demand for steel.

Unfortunately, steel production companies were understandably unable to meet the rising demand due to layoffs and local restrictions that kept employees from working on site.

When can we expect to see a reduction in steel prices? At this time, nobody is certain. But experts are using phrases to characterize the price of steel as a “bubble” which suggests that prices will eventually collapse because they are unsustainable at such unprecedented heights.

“This would be like $170-a-barrel oil. At some point, people will say… ‘I’m not going to drive, I will take the bus,’ ” said Phil Gibbs, director of metals equity research at KeyBanc Capital Markets, in an interview with CNN Business.

Gibbs added he expects a major correction will occur when people decide they can no longer afford such inflated steel prices. Inevitably, the market will turn to a cheaper alternative to save money, regardless of whether they prefer the alternative or not.

Another issue that’s affecting the price of steel is the collection of other global industry shortages, such as a dip in available microchips for cars. Because of that shortage, fewer motor vehicles are being manufactured, which in turn makes cars, both new and used, more expensive.

Once the chip shortage is solved, more cars should be coming off the line, and that could also pressure the demand for steel upward.

Knowing when this will happen is hard to say, but we can’t imagine the current situation will change any time soon. A shift will depend on several interlocked components working themselves out.

We don’t know what will be the first domino to topple on the others and set everything back in the direction we would like, but once it does, the rest may well fall into place rather swiftly.