New Tariffs Are Pumping Up Lumber Costs

July 3, 2017

A few months after the Commerce Department announced tariffs of up to 24 percent for Canadian softwood lumber, an additional 7.7 percent anti-dumping duty was enacted last week.

Scott Beyer, a contributor to Forbes, writes that these tariffs will cost builders and buyers. Over just a few weeks in February, lumber prices rose from about $325 per 1,000 board feet to $390. Prices continued to climb in June. 

Canada is the world’s largest lumber exporter, and the U.S. buys 80 percent of its stock. Canadian lumber accounts for up to 34 percent of the total supply in the U.S. in any given year.

Lumber also equals about 10% of home construction costs. Commerce's two protectionist measures were passed at a time when both housing prices and housing permits are increasing--which would suggest the need for more cheap lumber.

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