WASHINGTON (2/24/2021) — Lumber prices have risen dramatically this year, prompting concerns for the construction industry. Data from Random Lengths indicates softwood lumber prices have risen 112%. The costs for homebuilders and renovation contractors are nearing record highs and have even prompted The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) to pen a letter to President Biden asking for his intervention.
“AGC believes the White House can play a constructive role in mitigating this growing threat to multifamily housing and other construction sectors by urging domestic lumber producers to ramp up production to ease growing shortages and making it a priority to work with Canada on a new softwood lumber agreement.” Stephen Sandherr, Chief Executive Officer for AGC stated in a February 18 letter addressed to the White House.
One factor in the rising cost is former President Trump’s tariffs on Canadian lumber imports from 2017. COVID-19 has played a role in the soaring prices as well as housing starts are up 30% year over year according to the U.S. Census. An increase in home remodeling, likely due to more people spending time at home, has had an impact as well.