Texas Home Builders Facing Lumber Shortage

US-ECONOMY-CONSTRUCTION

As if a shortage of skilled workers and increased fees being piled onto them by city governments weren't enough, Texas homebuilders are now dealing with a new and potentially even more serious problem...a shortage of lumber.

News Radio 1200 WOAI reports homebuilders are negotiating with environmental groups to determine whether protected federal lands can be opened up for lumber harvesting.

"They're looking at opportunities on federally owned land that has potential supply," Emily Blair of the Texas Association of Home Builders said.  "Our national organization is working with the Sierra Club to determine what can be harvested here."

And homebuilders are about to be hit again.  She says fully one third of the lumber used to build homes in Texas comes from Canada, and that supply stands to be threatened, or at least increase in cost, due to the trade wars that are brewing over President Trump's tariffs.

"the biggest opportunity and one of the alternatives is to have more domestic lumber produced," she said.

Texas homebuilders have been squeezed for the past several years, which is the biggest single reason why the cost of new homes, and the appraised value of existing homes, is rising so fast.

At a time when the state's economy is booming and more people are moving to Texas, homebuilders have been hit by a general shortage of skilled workers, driving by both crackdowns on immigration and by the rebuilding needs in southeast Texas due to Hurricane Harvey.

At the same time, cities continue to pile fees and additional costs onto homebuilders for everything from tree preservation to higher costs for hooking up to utilities, and for lot platting and permit approvals.

All of that is a key reason for the skyrocketing property taxes paid by homeowners.

PHOTO: Getty Images

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