Industry News

Fed eases Canadian lumber tariffs

Decision makes California builders smile

California home builders on Thursday applauded the decision by the U.S. Commerce Department to cut tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports in half. Noting that California builders use "in excess of $6 billion worth of wood a year" in constructing 200,000 new homes and apartments, Sherman D. Harmer Jr., president of the California Building Industry Association and a San Diego home builder, said Thursday's action is an important step. "Because California builders primarily build wood-frame homes, the cost of wood is an important part of the ultimate price of a new home here," Harmer said. "And thanks in no small part to the U.S. tariffs on Canadian imports, the price that builders pay for wood has risen dramatically in the past few years. Due to tariffs and strong demand for wood in the U.S. and overseas, the cost of framing lumber averaged about $450 per 1,000 board feet in April – up 40 percent from the beginning of the year and at its highest level since July 1999, acco...