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Framing lumber prices in US peaked above $950 per thousand board feet in mid-September, according to Random Lengths, and have been on a slow, downward trajectory since then. For the week ending Oct. 16, prices stood above $750 per thousand board feet, down nearly $200 since their all-time high last month.

Since mid-April, lumber prices have soared nearly 120% but are down roughly 20% since mid-September. This unprecedented lumber price spike over the last several months has added more than $16,000 to the price of a typical new single-family home.

The price peak and subsequent gradual decline appear to have coincided with recent actions by NAHB. In August, letters were sent to President Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer calling on the administration to take prompt action regarding soaring lumber prices and supply shortages that are harming the housing sector and the economy.

NAHB urged the White House to call on domestic lumber producers to ramp up production to ease growing shortages and to make it a priority to work with Canada on a new softwood lumber agreement that would end tariffs averaging more than 20% on Canadian lumber shipments into the United States that are increasing price volatility. A similar message was sent to the U.S. Lumber Coalition with a request to work together to address shortages in the lumber supply chain caused in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of August, NAHB Senior Officers held talks with members of the White House National Economic Council to discuss the impact that soaring lumber prices are having on the housing industry and to press for immediate action. At the end of September, the NAHB leadership reiterated strong concerns regarding the lumber supply situation in a virtual meeting with Commerce Secretary Ross.

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