Lumber Prices Finally Fell in October (But Are Still Way Too High)

Lumber prices dropped in early October, but not nearly enough, and now home builders and lawmakers are working together to bring about a solution.

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Framing lumber hit prices of $750 per thousand board feet last week, dropping down dramatically from the mid-September peak prices of $900,000 per thousand board feet. While this drop was undoubtedly reassuring, lumber prices remain 120 percent higher than they were this past April.

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The National Association of Home Builders recently worked with nearly 100 lawmakers on drafting a bipartisan letter to the White House as part of their continued attempts to lower lumber prices back down to normal levels.

The letter, which was officially sent to President Trump on October 20, highlights the crucial role housing plays in the current economic recovery and its potential to be slowed by prohibitively high lumber prices.

“As the nation fights to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, housing has been a bright spot for the U.S. economy,” reads the letter. “However, there is concern that this success is at risk of reversal as builders have seen a dramatic increase in the cost of materials, particularly lumber, since the pandemic began.”

The letter goes on to share that the NAHB estimates that the recent lumber spike has added more than $16,000 to the average price of typical single family home.

“Housing can do its part to create jobs and return the economy to what it was prior to the pandemic, but in order to do so, we need to address the rising costs of lumber and other building materials,” reads the letter. “In response to these obstacles, we ask your administration to bring all stakeholders to the table and work to find a solution to address lumber scarcity and subsequent price spikes that ensures everyone’s needs are met.”

This recent letter is just the latest in a long line of the NAHB’s official attempts to combat high lumber prices that has included meetings with the National Economic Council and an open letter sent to the president back in August.