The Trump Administration’s decision earlier this year to raise the tariff on lumber imported from Canada is beginning to have a negative impact on the home building industry.
So says Randy Noel, the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, who, with a group of home builders, recently met with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to discuss the issue.
In a statement after the meeting, Noel said he noted that “lumber prices have risen sharply higher than the tariff rate would indicate, and that this is hurting housing affordability in markets across the nation.”
Noel said that lumber cost increases are adding $3,000 to the price of the average multi-family unit, and $9,000 to the average single-family home.
Noel urged Ross to re-start negotiations with Canadian trade officials in the hope of finding a “longterm solution to this trade dispute that will ensure U.S. home builders have access to a staple supply of lumber at reasonable prices to keep housing affordable for hard-working American families.”
The tariff issue, say industry analysts, is particularly crucial for U.S. builders for the simple reason that Canadian imports make up some 28 percent of all lumber sales in this country.
In April, Ross predicted to reporters that although the increased tariff would increase the price of lumber, the overall impact would be minimal.
“The biggest part of most home prices in any event is the land value, not the lumber value,” commented Ross, who said that the tariff increase was in response to the Canadians violating “legitimate practice.”
Ross added: “To the extent we can correct that, it should be corrected.”
By Garry Boulard
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