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Politics & MoneyReal Estate

Lumber and appliance woes still vexing homebuilders

Economists: Continued vaccine rollout best chance for "normalcy"

HW+ pile of lumber

High lumber and appliance prices, as well as slow shipping and delivery times, continue to hamstring homebuilders in 2021.

It’s an issue that has been reported on at length by HousingWire, from the onset of the shortage to the crippling price increases — of both lumber and building materials — that coincided with the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S.

Specifically, new home builders were hit extremely hard by the drop in inventory and, in part, by the subsequent skyrocketing prices, due to an increase in the number of homebuyers looking to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates.

“There is a disconnect between lumber supply and housing demand,” said Jerry Konter, NAHB vice chairman, in a statement from the NAHB. “U.S. sawmill output increased only 3.3% in 2020, and over the same period, single-family construction increased 12% to almost 1 million housing starts, and the remodeling market expanded 7%.

“We feel this mismatch between domestic production and rising demand for building materials is at the root of the unsustainable increases in lumber prices.”

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