Builders Report Lumber Shortages

With the end of 2017 approaching, NAHB’s Eye on Housing is reviewing the posts that attracted the most readers over the last year. In July, Paul Emrath examined increasing concerns over lumber pricing and availability.

 

For several years now, the recovery in single-family home building has been hampered by shortages of labor and lots.  Availability of building materials, meanwhile, has not been much of an issue. But that may be starting to change.

In answer to questions on the May 2017 survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, 21% of single-family builders reported a shortage of framing lumber.  Although still well below the share currently reporting shortages of lots and labor, this nevertheless marks a clear movement on the building materials front since 2014, when no product or material was cited as being in short supply by more than 15% of builders.

That was still true for most building materials in the May 2017 survey.  Next to framing lumber, the most widespread shortages reported in 2017 are for ready-mix concrete and trusses, with 14% of builders currently reporting shortages of each.  The graph below shows all 23 materials and products listed in the 2017 survey, sorted in descending order of the reported shortages.

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