Lawmakers push White House and Department of Justice for lumber price solutions

The National Association of Home Builders reported that U.S. Representatives. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) have sent a letter to President Biden and the Department of Justice urging the administration to respond to rising building materials prices and supply shortages, including lumber.

The Representatives said shortages and high prices are harming the housing market and threaten economic recovery.

According to the NAHB, the lawmakers used data provided by the association to state that “shortages of lumber have nearly tripled the price of lumber since mid-April 2020, causing the price of a new single-family home to increase by more than $24,000.”

The NAHB said that finding solutions that ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber for the home building industry at a competitive price is a top priority the organization. 

Additionally, the NAHB is urging the Commerce Department to investigate why lumber production — particularly sawmill output — remains at low levels during a period of high demand.

“Unfortunately, this unprecedented price increase on new homeowners, as well as home builders, will persist until new sawmills come online and current mills re-open and operate at full capacity,” the letter reads. “To address this issue, we ask your Administration to facilitate a discussion with all stakeholders, including sawmills, home builders, loggers, and distributors, to ensure all needs are met in a timely manner.”

Both lawmakers also attached a letter sent last fall to President Trump that was signed by nearly 100 members of the 116th Congress seeking action on the lumber issue.