It takes a lot of lumber to build a house, and the price of that wood is going way up.
A new duty imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on Canadian softwood lumber is designed to level the playing field between Canadian and U.S. lumber producers, and just the anticipation of it has pushed lumber prices higher by about 22 percent since the start of this year.
The Trump administration argues that government subsidies for Canadian lumber are unfair. It's great for U.S. lumber producers, not so great for U.S. homebuilders, who inevitably pay the price.
"NAHB is deeply disappointed in this short-sighted action by the U.S. Department of Commerce that will ultimately do nothing to resolve issues causing the U.S.-Canadian lumber trade dispute but will negatively harm American consumers and housing affordability," said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a
The cost of this new duty will increase Canadian lumber costs for U.S. customers by 6.4 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders, and that will be passed on to homebuyers. The NAHB estimates it will increase the price of an average new single-family home by $1,236.