Builders Reporting Record Material Shortage Numbers

In a recent survey for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), shortages of materials are more apparent now than any time since NAHB began tracking this statistic regularly in the 90s. In response to special questions in the May 2021 HMI survey, more than 90% of builders who buy the product in question reported shortages of appliances, framing lumber and OSB. Meanwhile, 90% of respondents said there was a shortage of plywood, whereas 87% said there was a shortage of windows and doors.

“The shortages are not only extremely widespread, but extremely broad-based. Of the two dozen items listed in the May 2021 survey, twelve were checked as being in short supply by at least 70% of the builders,” wrote Eye On Housing’s Paul Emrath. “In total, 16 were checked as in short supply by over 60%, and 21 were checked as in short supply by over 50%. All two dozen were flagged as in short supply by at least 43% of the builders who purchase the item. In contrast, when the HMI survey last covered the topic in June of 2020, fewer than 40% of builders reported a shortage of any of the listed products and materials.”

This report comes just a week after news had circulated that the U.S. Commerce Department considered doubling Canadian lumber tariffs. Prices for lumber have been soaring amid the pandemic. For example, two-by-fours made from Western spruce, pine and fir reportedly sold last week for a record $1,640 per 1,000 board ft. — a 340% increase over the past year.

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