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Rising Lumber Prices Add $36K to a New Home’s Price

By Kerry Smith

Lumber prices tripled over the past year, pushing the average cost of a newly built, single-family home $35,872 higher – and $13,000 higher for a new multifamily home.

WASHINGTON – Lumber prices have tripled over the past 12 months, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says that has caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $35,872.

It’s also pushed the price of a multifamily home $13,000 higher, which NAHB translates into about $119 more per month to rent a new apartment.

While lumber is the primary cost increase incurred by new-home buyers, other building material prices have also been steadily rising since 2020, NAHB says, further pushing the price of new construction higher.

“This unprecedented price surge is hurting American home buyers and home builders and impeding housing and economic growth,” says NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa.

The latest Random Lengths prices for the week ending April 23 found the price of framing lumber almost $1,200 per thousand board feet – that’s up nearly 250% since last April when the price was roughly $350 per thousand board feet.

Calling it a “remarkable runup,” NAHB reported as recently as February 2021 that rising prices added $24,000 to the price of a new home. Last August, rising prices resulted in the average price of new single-family homes increasing by $16,000.

“These lumber price hikes are clearly unsustainable,” says Fowke. “Policymakers need to examine the lumber supply chain, identify the causes for high prices and supply constraints, and seek immediate remedies that will increase production.”

NAHB calculated these average home price increases based on the softwood lumber that goes into the average new home, as captured in the Builder Practices Survey conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs. It includes softwood lumber used for structural framing (including beams, joists, headers, rafters and trusses), sheathing, flooring and underlayment, interior wall and ceiling finishing, cabinets, doors, windows, roofing, siding, soffit and fascia, and exterior features such as garages, porches, decks, railing, fences and landscape walls.

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