The Builders Association of the Twin Cities is weighing in on a new proposal to implement a 20 percent tariff on Canadian timber imports, here's the group's response:
"The Builders Association of the Twin Cities is deeply concerned about the decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose a 20 percent countervailing duty on Canadian lumber and the impact it could have on Minnesota homebuyers. With increased regulation and a labor shortage already impacting housing affordability, this tariff will make it even more difficult for homebuilders to build affordable new homes.
“Minnesota families are already being priced out of the housing market. We are deeply concerned about the effect this action will have on home prices,” said BATC Executive Director David Siegel. “There are too many cost drivers that are negatively affecting housing affordability and we believe this would only add to the problem.”
Industry experts estimate 33 percent of the lumber used in the United States last year was imported. The bulk of the imported lumber – more than 95 percent – came from Canada. "Minnesota homeowners and homebuyers will be the hardest hit by this price increase. This will not only hurt affordable construction of new homes, but will increase costs on improvements to existing homes," said Bob Michels, the 2017 President of BATC.
The disagreement between the U.S. and Canada is already having an effect on housing. Lumber prices have increased by five percent per week, on average to start the year. To put that in perspective, the average weekly price change over the course of 2016 was 0.2 percent."
BATC is a Roseville-based trade group that represents 1,200 builders, remodelers, developers and suppliers, most of them in the Twin Cities metro.