“What makes absolutely no sense at all is that the Department of Commerce doubled the tariff on soft lumber imports from Canada, which is framing lumber,” Hofmann said. “Framing lumber a year ago in May was five times what it was the year before – the highest in history. In July, it went down to pre-COVID prices for July-August, and then it started to creep up in September. And in November – for God only knows what reason – the Commerce Department doubled the tariff on soft lumber imports. Why would they do that?”
He expounded on the point: “Why in the time of crisis like this would they double the tariff? They made it 18%. Fortunately, through lobbying, the builders’ association got that tariff reduced by 7% the end of January. Why in the hell do we need a tariff on soft lumber imports when there is an incredibly critical shortage of materials that’s driving the cost of homeownership up and there’s a shortage of houses? The government is literally playing into the hands of the lumber mills.”
Builders also called on the White House to address federal regulatory reform to reduce upward pressure on housing costs. “Reducing burdensome regulations that account for nearly 25% of the price of building a single-family home and more than 30% of the cost of a typical multifamily development will provide more homeownership and rental housing opportunities for all Americans,” the letter reads.
The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 700 state and local home builders’ associations around the country. According to the association, its members will construct some 80% of the new housing units projected for this year.