Lumber Shortages Encumber More Builders

Filed in Economics by on July 12, 2017 0 Comments

Home builders across the country were getting hammered by skyrocketing lumber prices earlier this year. And now, more of them are reporting issues with lumber supply, too.

A new post on Eye on Housing cites recent NAHB survey results which found that more than 1 in 5 single-family builders are experiencing a shortage of framing lumber.

While access to lots and labor remain much higher priorities for the majority of builders, the availability of lumber is quickly rising on many of their priority lists.

Russ Pies, general manager at Builders FirstSource in Sioux Falls, S.D., says the added duties on and availability of softwood lumber have created pricing instability.

“Our builders are feeling even more pressure to keep their projects on time and on budget,” Pies said. “If this instability continues into the fall, the risk will be too high for smaller builders to build spec homes and force them to downsize.”

For now, the majority of builders continue to have access to sufficient lumber supplies, albeit at prices much higher than a year ago. However, lumber prices recently began leveling off and dropping in most markets.

Billy Ward, founder and president of Champion Builders in Baton Rouge, La., says he hasn’t noticed a shortage of lumber. In fact, he feels pretty optimistic about current conditions.

“When I spoke to my supplier yesterday, he said the mills he buys from are fine and that he hasn’t seen any difference [in supply],” Ward said.Prices went up for a little while, but they’ve come down substantially in the last four to five weeks. So things are looking OK from my perspective.”

Read the full Eye on Housing post for more on the reported shortages of softwood lumber, as well as other scarcities of materials such as ready-mix concrete and trusses.

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