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The Ticker

Homebuilders and lumber dealers face supply shortage

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Home builders and lumber dealers are facing a significant shortage of materials necessary for building a home, such as lumber and wall board, according to the National Association of Home Builders and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Assocation. 

"Supply constraints are one of the barriers to a more robust recovery," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The shortages and price increases reported by both homebuilders and lumber dealers are particularly concerning given that the current rate of construction is still far below what would be considered normal or necessary to meet underlying demand." 

The highest reported incidence of shortages was for oriented strand board, with 22% of builders reporting shortages. Following closely is wall board, with 20% of builders reporting a shortage, and framing lumber and plywood, with 18% of builders reporting shortages. 

The survey asked both builder and lumber dealers about the shortages of 24 specific building products and materials. For the majority of the products, the share of builders reporting a shortage was considerably higher in May 2013 than the previous two years. 

"The shares of reported shortages are not as high now as they were in 2004 or 2005, but the increases since 2012 are quite significant, especially when you take the early stage of the housing recovery into account," said Crowe. 

He added, "In 2004 and 2005 the home building industry was producing over 1.8 million new homes a year, while the current rate of new housing starts is still below 1 million."

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