The ongoing lumber shortage is among the top issues affecting the woodworking and housing industries.
Big construction companies and smaller contractors are feeling the supply crunch, which began with the onset of COVID-19. The pandemic caused a big decrease in supply, as well as an increase in demand - likely spurred by homeowners opting to renovate while they're stuck at home.
We've written about several companies who've felt the effect, including Rooftight Construction, Bulldog Fence, and Coventry Lumber. Coventry saw demand skyrocket for pressure-treated wood at the beginning of April. They're struggling to fulfill demand.
Now we have some numbers to put it in perspective. According to data from Random Lengths, lumber prices are up 134 percent from last year - which adds up to around $14,000 extra per house, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The median price of new homes sold in July was $330,600, up $22,300 from last July. according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The NAHB thinks the issue is urgent enough to warrant White House intervention. The Association penned a letter to President Trump, urging him to call on domestic lumber producers to ramp up production. The letter also called for prioritization of a new softwood lumber agreement with Canada, which would end tariffs averaging more than 20 percent on Canadian lumber shipments into the U.S.
The softwood lumber industry is a vital part of the U.S. economy. There are thousands of sawmills throughout the United States, the majority of which are small, local mills. In 2016, the U.S. softwood lumber industry employed more than 18,000 workers across 30 states and shipped approximately $7.12 billion of softwood lumber products. Imports of softwood lumber products from Canada in 2016 totaled $5.78 billion.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.