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Lumber Prices Hit Another Record High

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Lumber Prices Hit Another Record High

NAHB Policy Briefing | Rising lumber cost continues to push up the price of single-family and multifamily homes; tracking consumer preferences for a home office vs. home gym

By National Association of Home Builders June 9, 2021
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The cost of lumber reached an all-time high during May. | Photo: illustrez-vous | stock.adobe.com
This article first appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Pro Builder.

The price of lumber reached an all-time high of $1,495 per thousand board feet on May 14, according to wood industry price and news service Random Lengths. That’s up more than 300% from May 2020, when the price was roughly $360 per thousand board feet. 

Record-high lumber costs have pushed up the price of the average new single-family home by almost $36,000, according to analysis by economists at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

In addition, rising lumber prices have added nearly $13,000 to the market value of the average new multifamily home, which translates into households paying $119 per month more to rent a new apartment.

And the problem isn’t confined to lumber prices and supply. Prices paid for goods used in residential construction, excluding energy, have increased more than 12% in the past year, according to a recent Producer Price Index report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Copper, brass, steel, and ready-mix concrete prices are rising due to stressed global supply chains.


NAHB is working on multiple fronts to address the crisis, including meeting with and asking the Biden administration to find ways to increase domestic lumber production and temporarily lower Canadian softwood lumber tariffs. NAHB members have provided testimonials about how lumber prices are affecting their business. 

NAHB also is working with lumber industry officials to ensure they understand that high demand for lumber isn’t a transient phenomenon and is leading a coalition of more 35 organizations asking Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to study the problem and work with industry stakeholders to increase lumber production. 

Home Office or Exercise Room? Or Both?

The latest edition of NAHB’s study of consumer preferences, “What Home Buyers Really Want,” reveals that 63% of recent and prospective homebuyers want a home office. 

Since coming in at 55% on the 2003 survey, the share of buyers who want a home office has remained at or above 63% in every edition of the survey since 2007. Home offices are particularly popular among buyers paying $500,000 or more for their home (79%), Millennials (74%), and married couples with children (70%).

Home Chart and Home Gym preference bar chart

When asked about the desirability of an exercise room in the home, 47% of recent and prospective homebuyers rate an exercise room as essential or desirable. While buyers’ desire for a home office is still markedly higher than it is for an exercise room, the increasing popularity of home exercise rooms is unmistakable, having grown from 27% in 2003 to 47% in 2020. 

Get a comprehensive look at “What Home Buyers Really Want” at eyeonhousing.org/special-studies.

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The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing, and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. For more, visit nahb.orgFacebook.com/NAHBhomeTwitter.com/NAHBhome

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