Lumber and building material talks between industry organizations and the White House gained steam late last week.
On July 16, the National Association of Home Builders was joined by a diverse group of stakeholders who participated in a virtual discussion hosted by the White House.
The topic of discussion was regarding current challenges across the home building supply chain, its implications for the broader housing market, and possible solutions.
Administration officials participating in the event included Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, Assistant to the President and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Ambassador Susan Rice, and Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecelia Rouse.
The NAHB stressed at this meeting that it is imperative that lumber mill producers boost production in order to meet rising demand.
This meeting was the culmination of a year-long effort where NAHB has been in the forefront of educating the public and policymakers about how rising lumber and building material prices are harming home builders, home buyers and the economic recovery.
In the policy arena, NAHB has reached out to virtually every member of Congress on the lumber issue and held talks with top White House officials and cabinet leaders.
The NAHB said that thanks to grassroots membership efforts, several House and Senate leaders have openly raised the issue of soaring lumber prices and housing affordability with Secretary Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
In another positive development, many in the residential construction industry may have seen recent media reports about the recent sharp drop in lumber prices.
While this is good news, according to the NAHB, the lumber crisis is far from over.
Most builders have not been able to take advantage of this development because producers are still selling off lumber that they purchased from mills when prices were at their peak.
Moreover, sawmill output continues to lag. During the July 16 meeting, NAHB underscored that if supply does not increase fast enough to meet demand, we may find ourselves in the same situation as last November, when lumber prices posted a similar steep reduction only to reverse course and move to record-high levels.
And while lumber prices have just recently begun to move downward, the price for other building materials such as oriented strand board continues to soar by more than 500% above its January 2021 level.