Material prices threaten housing affordability

HomeNewsMaterial prices threaten housing affordability

housingWashington, D.C.—It’s not just lumber. The rapidly rising prices for other heavily relied upon building materials are causing widespread concerns throughout the housing industry, according to The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 

While skyrocketing lumber prices (up more than 300% from April 2020) have dominated industry headlines over the past year, the prices for other materials like steel, concrete and gypsum products all continue to climb at a record pace, the NAHB said. 

“Steel mill products price volatility is greater than it has been at any time since the Great Recession,” said David Logan, senior economist, NAHB. “Over the past three months, prices have climbed 22%. Perhaps more concerning than rising prices is that the pace of price changes has quickened each of the past nine months.”

Logan added that prices for gypsum products have increased 12.5% during the past year, including a notable surge over the last two months. He also cited “unusual volatility” of ready-mix concrete prices, which have gone up in each region of the country. 

Ultimately, price surges and supply constraints will increasingly price prospective buyers out of the market. Moreover, the issue is disproportionately harming middle and low-income households, the NAHB said. 

“[Rising materials prices] are significantly driving up prices for single-family homes and apartments,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist, NAHB. “Combined with expectations of rising interest rates, these higher prices place additional pressure on housing affordability, which continued to decline in the first quarter.” 

The NAHB said it continues to ardently advocate for solutions, urging the Biden administration, Congress and other lawmakers to take action. The topic was recently discussed at length during House and Senate hearings held earlier this week, according to the NAHB. 

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