Softwood lumber prices hit single- and multi-family homebuilding costs hard

The costs of lumber for single- and multifamily residences surge
Photo: Connor Brown on Unsplash

According to new estimates from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), price upticks in softwood lumber products between April 17, 2020 and July 08, 2021 were potent enough to add nearly $30,000 to the cost of building an average single-family home, as well as almost $10,000 to  the market value of multifamily homes, which requires tenants to pay $92 more in monthly rent.

These price increases are a bit less than they were just three months ago, when the NAHB’s April 2020 to April 2021 “Eye on Housing” report concluded lumber shortages and expenses added $35,872 to home prices and $119 to monthly rents. When weighed against recent rollbacks in framing lumber expenses, these figures can appear a bit off balance, but the NAHB points to other factors with considering.

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First and foremost is that despite recent cost decreases in framing lumber, prices are nevertheless approximately twice as high when compared to April of 2020.

Another factor is that framing lumber is but one of many softwood lumber products that appear in the average home. To that end, the NAHB estimates also considered any product sold by the nation’s sawmills and monitored weekly by Random Lengths, a leading source of information for a bevy of wood products. To wit, the Home Innovation Research Labs “Builder Practices Survey” finds the average new single-family home will use greater than 2,200 square feet of soft plywood in addition to an eye-opening 6,800 square feet of oriented strand board. Since April 2020, softwood plywood costs increased more than 200 percent, while the price of OSB soared to nearly 5000 percent.

Using the latest data from the July 08, 2021, figures Random Lengths reports costs for softwood lumber products in an average single-family residence rose to $42,882, and $14,63 in a multifamily home, representing a staggering 153% ($25,955) and 146% ($8,691) increase in builders’ respective softwood lumber costs. Indeed, the recent NAHB “Study on Regulatory Costs” indicates the final price of a single-family home to increase 14.94% more than the cost to builders.

Amy Guettler

Amy Guettler is a freelance writing, editing, marketing and communications professional. An expert in content development and management, Amy can be reached at [email protected].

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