A tariff increase on softwood lumber from Canada is being blamed for a June decline of 9.1 percent in single-family construction, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Overall, single-family construction in June dropped to 858,000 units, while multi-family units, including condominiums and apartments, fell by 19.8 percent for a total of 315,000.
“We have been warning the administration for months that the ongoing increases in lumber prices stemming from both the tariffs and profiteering this year are having a strong impact on builders’ ability to meet growing consumer demand,” Randy Noel, NAHB chairman, said in a statement.
The June numbers show that the decline in single and multi-family housing construction was nationwide, with the largest drop at 40 percent recorded in the Northeast; followed by the Midwest with a 35 percent decline.
The decline was less significant in the South, with a 9 percent decline, and the West, where the drop-off was around 3 percent.
Canadian lumber imports have consistently made up the largest supplier of softwood to the U.S., accounting for 28 percent of all lumber imports annually.
The NAHB earlier reported that the 20 percent tariff on Canadian lumber is adding $3,000 to the average price of multi-family units in the U.S.
By Garry Boulard
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