Congress pushes Biden to intervene on rising lumber prices
March 16, 2021 | 12:20 pm CDT
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WASHINGTON - Congress has joined the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in urging President Biden for a legislative solution to soaring lumber prices.
 
Representatives Jim Costa (D-California) and Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) sent a letter to Biden this week.
 
“Unfortunately, this unprecedented price increase on new homeowners, as well as home builders, will persist until new sawmills come online and current mills re-open and operate at full capacity,” the two representatives wrote. 
 
The letter calls for the administration to connect with sawmills, home builders, loggers, and other stakeholders to find a valid solution.
 
The AGC and NAHB have also called for intervention.
 
"Price increases—some to record-setting levels—and long delivery delays are causing hardships for construction firms that are also experiencing challenges in completing projects with crews limited by illness or new work site procedures resulting from the pandemic," wrote the AGC. "AGC believes the White House can play a constructive role in mitigating this growing threat to multifamily housing and other construction sectors by urging domestic lumber producers to ramp up production to ease growing shortages and making it a priority to work with Canada on a new softwood lumber agreement."
 
"Lumber price spikes are not only sidelining buyers during a period of high demand, they are causing many sales to fall through and forcing builders to put projects on hold at a time when home inventories are already at a record low," the NAHB wrote mid-February.
 
Higher prices are likely behind the drop in single-family housing starts for January, which saw a 12 percent dip from December. OSB prices have also tripled since April.
 
Some of our readers have told us that the rising prices are affecting their woodworking companies. 
 
"The price increases are also crushing the industrial/furniture market," one reader wrote. "As a woodworking company we worry that these prices will tip some of our clients towards tooling wood parts in plastic or other materials. Once that happens the clients are lost forever. Many of our clients don't believe us when we explain the cost of plywood and other sheet products. We send them the invoices so that they can compare what we quoted to what we need based on current plywood prices. Don't forget that the housing market is always at the front of the line and the woodworkers way at the back - even in good times."
 

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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at robert.dalheim@woodworkingnetwork.com.