The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today urged Congress to support draft legislation unveiled by House Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) that would require the U.S. Forest Service to actively manage its commercial forest lands and increase timber production on federal lands, thereby helping to ease lumber price volatility and keep the nation’s forests healthy.

“The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act would encourage increased production on federal timber lands, while at the same time remain mindful of important environmental considerations,” says Justin Wood, vice president of construction for Fish Construction NW Inc., based in Portland, Ore. “This legislation will go a long way toward helping rebuild the supply chain and reviving local mills and timber companies, while ensuring the continued recovery of the housing industry.”

Testifying on behalf of NAHB before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, Wood said the legislation would benefit rural communities and boost harvesting on federal lands by requiring the federal government to implement active forest management plans.

Wood also pointed out that proper federal forest management policies are tied to affordable housing.

NAHB research shows lumber and wood products account for 15 percent of the cost of construction for a single-family house. Lumber prices soared as the housing recovery gained momentum in 2012, says the association.

These higher costs drive up the cost of construction, which in turn, drives up the price of a new home.

Another factor fueling rising lumber prices is that global demand is also up, especially in China, and U.S. exports have doubled in the last five years. There will be additional upward pressure on lumber prices as the housing industry recovers unless additional supply can be brought into the market.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *