The White House is listening to NAHB and the drumbeat of American home builders seeking solutions to the industry’s most pressing issue: Soaring lumber prices are making new homes cost too much, and it’s time for relief.
In an early morning tweet on Friday, President Trump laid out the issues, calling on Canada to “open their markets and take down their trade barriers” while also referencing the timber and lumber trade. NAHB has found that the disruption in the softwood lumber trade with Canada is a key factor in the historically high prices of lumber.
NAHB thanked the president in a tweeted reply: “Lumber prices hurt housing affordability and erode tax reform benefits. Let’s increase domestic production AND get a fair deal with Canada. We can protect the American Dream of homeownership with your leadership.”
Recent NAHB surveys suggest the price for lumber has overtaken the availability of labor as the primary business challenge for home builders.
Since the beginning of last year, rising lumber prices have added nearly $9,000 to the price of a typical new home and more than $3,000 to the price of a typical multifamily unit.
NAHB CEO Jerry Howard met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in April to urge him to work with his Canadian counterparts to reach a long-term solution to the trade dispute that is equitable to both sides. During May’s executive board meeting, NAHB leaders hammered home the importance of lumber prices in a series of meetings with Administration officials, including Vice President Pence and HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
And in a significant demonstration of the power of the grass roots, NAHB members have written hundreds of letters, called and visited members of Congress as well as the White House to ensure the voices of reason – and housing affordability – are heard.
NAHB’s efforts are beginning to see payback, demonstrating the power of a united trade association.
“I’m proud, and also humbled, by the work of our Builder and Associate members all over the country who answered our call to action,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. “We are the voice of future home buyers, and we have a duty to do everything we can to make sure their homes are affordable.”