Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) hosted a virtual home building supply chain roundtable yesterday with Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo to address disruptions that have resulted in soaring construction costs.
The meeting follows the White House summit prompted by NAHB last month that also sought solutions for rising material prices and supply shortages. During the meeting, representatives from the home building supply chain, including NAHB member Tommy Bickimer, president of Bickimer Homes and vice president of the Kansas City HBA, discussed the impact of these challenges.
"As the cost of building materials has skyrocketed, we have reluctantly had to share the burden with our buyers under contract. When the price of a new home increases by $1,000, 1,238 Kansas City area families are priced out of the market. So the stakes are high," said Bickimer. "I'm grateful that Sec. Raimondo and Sens. Shaheen and Moran are treating this as the critical issue that it is for new home buyers across the country."
In addition to the rising cost of material prices, participants also discussed the impact of the labor shortage on home building. Moran joined a growing group of lawmakers calling for action on the lumber issue, and delivered a Senate floor statement in May calling for the elimination of lumber tariffs and an increase in the production of domestic lumber. Moran and Shaheen also sent a joint letter in May to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai calling for a resolution to the lumber trade dispute with Canada and the elimination of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.
"The volatility in the lumber market is pricing hundreds of thousands of potential home buyers out of achieving the American dream of homeownership," said Moran. "Supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic have driven up the price of building and buying homes, and the threat of increasing countervailing duties on certain lumber imports from Canada threaten to exacerbate the situation."
While framing lumber prices have dropped in recent weeks, overall prices of wood products used in home building continue to soar, and supply chain issues delay projects and raise costs.