Housing Organizations Seek U.S. Curb on Soaring Lumber Prices
WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort spearheaded by the National Association of Home Builders, a coalition of more than 35 organizations tied to housing is urging U.S. Commerce Dept. Secretary Gina Raimondo and other government officials to turn their immediate attention to the price of lumber, an issue that is “threatening the economic recovery and housing affordability,” the organizations said.
In letters sent last month to Raimondo, as well as to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen, the coalition requested that government officials examine the lumber supply chain, identify the causes for “skyrocketing prices and supply constraints (that are harming) home builders, home buyers, remodelers and the economy. U.S. officials were also asked to “seek immediate remedies that will increase production.”
Lumber prices have nearly tripled since last spring, resulting in the cost of building an average new single-family home to increase by more than $24,000 since mid-April 2020, according to the Washington, DC-based NAHB. Similarly, the cost of the average new multifamily unit has increased by $9,000 over the same period, the trade association said.
Secretary Raimondo was told that home builders and construction firms that have signed fixed-price contracts are forced to absorb these crippling increases in materials prices and costly delays in deliveries.
“There is a significant risk that many of these firms will be forced out of business,” the letter stated. “To the extent that they’re able to pass on their additional costs, both single- and multifamily housing becomes less affordable. Other projects will no longer be economically viable, which undercuts the availability of new housing supply and further jeopardizes affordability.