NAHB says material shortages are widespread

More than 90% of builders report a shortage of lumber, OSB, and appliances.
logo, company name

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that shortages of building materials are now more widespread than at any time since it began tracking the issue in the 1990s.

The NAHB said that more than 90% of builders reporting shortages of appliances, framing lumber and OSB.

Exactly 90% said there was a shortage of plywood, and nearly as many respondents (87%) said there was a shortage of windows and doors, according to a May 2021 survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The growth of builders reporting material shortages has widened in 2021.

The shortages are not only extremely widespread, but extremely broad-based. 

Of the two dozen items listed in the May 2021 survey, 12 were checked as being in short supply by at least 70% of the builders. In total, 16 were checked as in short supply by more than 60%, and 21 were checked as in short supply by more than 5%.

All two dozen material categories were flagged as in short supply by at least 43% of the builders who purchase the item. 

In contrast, when the HMI survey last covered the topic in June 2020, fewer than 40% of builders reported a shortage of any of the listed products and materials.

In the 11 months, the share of builders reporting shortages increased by at least 27 percentage points on all 23 category items. In the most extreme case, the share of builders reporting a shortage of OSB skyrocketed by 83 points, from 9% to 92%. 

The shortage percentages for plywood, framing lumber and copper wiring also jumped by 70 points or more.

About 95% of builders reported a shortage of appliances in May 2021 — the single highest shortage percentage recorded on any item since NAHB began collecting the information in a systematic way in the 1990s.