WASHINGTON, DC — The National Association of Home Builders has renewed its calls on Congress and the Biden administration to help ease building material supply chain bottlenecks that are stunting housing affordability by eliminating trade barriers and seeking solutions to port congestion and major delays in truck and rail transportation.
Testifying before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations, NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke this week told government lawmakers that disruptions in the building materials supply chain that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are having “a disproportionate” impact on smaller homebuilding firms.
“Without large economies of scale, small businesses generally cannot negotiate bulk discounts on lumber and other key building materials,” said Fowke. “The effects of this uncertainty trickle all the way to the (prospective) homebuyer, many of whom have balked at projects due to unexpected price increases.”
According to the Washington, DC-based NAHB, historically high lumber and building materials prices continue to serve as “headwinds” for the U.S. housing sector, significantly impeding housing affordability.
“From steel mill products and plastic piping to cooper pipe and wood windows and doors, prices are up dramatically year-to-date and are exacerbating the growing housing affordability crisis,” Fowke said, suggesting that the Biden administration address two fundamental problems.
“On the trade front, until a long-term solution can be reached, Congress and the administration should temporarily suspend duties on a wide array of imported building materials and goods, from Canadian softwood lumber to Chinese steel and aluminum,” said Fowke. “In addition, policymakers must continue to aggressively explore solutions to ease building material supply chain disruptions that are causing project delays and putting upward pressure on home prices.”