One hundred politicians urge President Trump to intervene on lumber prices
October 22, 2020 | 11:07 am CDT
Nearly 100 Republican and Democratic lawmakers penned a letter to President Trump on October 20 - seeking action on lumber supply shortages that have resulted in unprecedented price spikes.
“These sharp increases are challenging, especially in light of the ongoing housing affordability crisis,” the congressional letter stated. “The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates the recent spike in softwood lumber costs has caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $16,148 since April 17. The market value of the average new multifamily home has increased by $6,107 over the same period.”
The letter adds that housing can create jobs and boost the economy, but in order to do so, the rising costs of lumber and other building materials must be addressed. Lawmakers called on the administration to “bring all stakeholders to the table and work to find a solution to address lumber scarcity and subsequent price spikes to ensure everyone’s needs are met.”
Washington's involvement was prompted by the NAHB, who sent a letter to Trump back in August. In that letter, the Association urged the president to call on domestic lumber producers to ramp up production. It 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.
A similar message was sent to the U.S. Lumber Coalition with a request to work together to address shortages in the lumber supply chain caused in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Based on the lumber price trend over the past month, NAHB’s ongoing efforts appear to be showing positive results," says the NAHB. "Lumber prices are currently roughly $750 per thousand board feet — down nearly 20% from their mid-September peak but still far too high. NAHB will continue working on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure U.S. home builders have access to a stable supply of lumber at reasonable prices to keep housing affordable for hardworking American families.
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