More than 10,000 NAHB members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico sent a letter to President Biden on April 27 calling on the White House to take immediate action as the growing housing affordability crisis is pushing the housing market to an inflection point that threatens to derail the current housing and economic expansion.
Members of the housing community hammered home the following message:
Rising costs stemming from historically high price levels for lumber and other building materials, supply chain bottlenecks, surging interest rates, excessive regulations and a persistent lack of construction workers have significantly decreased housing affordability conditions, particularly for entry-level buyers and renters.
NAHB — through its powerful grassroots — called for meaningful steps to allow builders to increase the supply of affordable single-family and multifamily for-sale and for-rent housing. NAHB warned the White House that if the housing sector falters, the economy will surely follow.
Suspend Lumber Tariffs Now
With tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments into the United States and production bottlenecks fueling lumber price volatility that has added more than $18,600 to the price of a new home since last August, residential construction industry workers called on Biden to immediately suspend tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada and to move quickly to enter into negotiations with Canada to pursue a new, long-term softwood lumber agreement.
In the letter to Biden, builders also called on the White House to address federal regulatory reform to reduce upward pressure on housing costs.
“Reducing burdensome regulations that account for nearly 25% of the price of building a single-family home and more than 30% of the cost of a typical multifamily development will provide more homeownership and rental housing opportunities for all Americans,” the letter said.
While NAHB has made some recent inroads with lumber prices beginning to decline in recent weeks and the Commerce Department announcing a reduction in lumber tariffs, much more needs to be done to improve housing affordability in this high-inflation environment.
Congress Must Act as Well
NAHB is calling on Congress to take the following steps to help ease the housing affordability crisis and to fix supply chain disruptions that are raising construction costs:
- Pass Rep. Bruce Westerman’s (R-Ark.) No Timber from Tyrants Act, which would ban lumber imports from Russia and ramp up responsible harvesting of timber from federal lands to create jobs and produce more sustainable wood products.
- Pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which would ease building material supply chain bottlenecks and allow builders to increase production of badly needed affordable housing.
- Promote and fund job training programs to prepare individuals for careers in home building and pursue immigration policies that help fill labor gaps while protecting the nation's borders.
NAHB will continue to keep the pressure on the Biden administration and Congress, and is working 24-7 to keep housing in the national forefront and to resolve these critical housing affordability issues that are affecting all our members across the country.