Late last week, the National Association of Home Builders met virtually with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to discuss rising lumber prices. Since mid-April, lumber prices have increased nearly 170%, according to NAHB. With this dramatic advance in prices, new single-family homes now cost an average of $16,000 more and new multifamily units cost an average of $6,000 more. NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke has called on US officials to end the high tariffs from Canadian lumber imports and to increase lumber production from domestic mills. Ross told members that lumber mills are hesitant to increase production as the demand in newly built homes are seen as temporary.
Rising lumber prices are clearly making it much harder to build homes that are affordable to low- and moderate-income families.
NAHB Third Vice Chairman Alicia Huey and Immediate Past Chairman Greg Ugalde told the secretary what the association has heard from members about how the lumber crisis is hurting their businesses and impeding an even more robust housing upturn.
Secretary Ross told NAHB leaders that lumber mills are concerned that the ongoing housing upturn is temporary, and Dietz assured Ross that the solid housing market is sustainable.