The following was published on Wednesday, August 30th in NAHB Now, the blog of the National Association of Home Builders:
NAHB Chair Granger MacDonald today issued the following statement on Hurricane Harvey and its potential effects on lumber prices as Gulf Coast residents prepare to rebuild after the catastrophic storm.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of my great state of Texas and our friends in Louisiana as they suffer through the extreme flooding and other damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Yet even as they cope with the immediate effects of the disaster, many are already looking to the future and the long rebuilding process ahead.
"In the aftermath of the devastating storm, demand for softwood lumber is expected to increase dramatically as home builders and remodelers repair and replace housing in Houston and across Texas. This crisis makes it more important than ever that the United States quickly achieve a lasting trade agreement regarding U.S. imports of Canadian softwood lumber.
"NAHB applauds Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' decision to postpone application of duties on Canadian softwood lumber. The delay will give the parties time to seek a negotiated solution. This is important because tariffs - basically just a tax on consumers - will be felt most harshly by families trying to rebuild. And lumber prices will rise even more as flooding in Texas and Louisiana constrains timber harvests there.
"We need a more permanent solution. That why we're calling on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to work collaboratively to open more public lands for domestic timber production. This is the most straightforward way to diminish reliance on imported lumber and to meet demand as Texas and Louisiana look to rebuild."