This post was updated on Dec. 7.
Working in tandem with NAHB, nearly 100 Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Oct. 20 sent a letter to President Trump seeking urgent action on lumber supply shortages that have resulted in unprecedented price spikes in recent months that are threatening the housing industry and economic recovery.
"These sharp increases are challenging, especially in light of the ongoing housing affordability crisis," the congressional letter stated. "The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates the recent spike in softwood lumber costs has caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $16,148 since April 17. The market value of the average new multifamily home has increased by $6,107 over the same period."
The letter adds that housing can create jobs and boost the economy, but in order to do so, we must address the rising costs of lumber and other building materials. Lawmakers called on the administration to "bring all stakeholders to the table and work to find a solution to address lumber scarcity and subsequent price spikes to ensure everyone's needs are met."
This is the latest action by NAHB to urge Congress and the administration to address this urgent issue.
- In August, letters were sent to President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer calling on the administration to take prompt action regarding soaring lumber prices and supply shortages that are harming the housing sector and the economy.
- A similar message was sent to the U.S. Lumber Coalition with a request to work together to address shortages in the lumber supply chain caused in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- At the end of August, NAHB Senior Officers held talks with members of the White House National Economic Council to discuss the impact that soaring lumber prices are having on the housing industry and to press for immediate action.
- At the end of September, the NAHB leadership reiterated strong concerns regarding the lumber supply situation in a virtual meeting with Commerce Secretary Ross.
- On Dec. 1, the U.S. Commerce Department slashed tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S. from 20% to 9%.
Based on the lumber price trend since the beginning of the fall, NAHB's ongoing efforts appear to be showing positive results. Lumber prices at the end of November stood at roughly $550 per thousand board feet — down about 40% from their mid-September peak but still far too high. NAHB will continue working on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure U.S. home builders have access to a stable supply of lumber at reasonable prices to keep housing affordable for hardworking American families.