The Impact of Fair Trade on the U.S. Housing Market

The facts are clear – the impact of softwood lumber on the price of a new home is minimal. An average new home costs $377,200 and requires about 16,000 board feet of lumber. As of November 2018, lumber costs $340 per thousand board feet, amounting to $5,440, or less than 2% of the cost of an average-priced home.

This shows that despite claims to the contrary, homebuyers are not significantly harmed by the introduction of antidumping and countervailing duties on imported Canadian softwood lumber. In fact, Brendan Lowney, a principal at Forest Economic Advisors, acknowledges that the lumber duties have “negligible” impact on the housing industry. In fact, U.S. industry grew and produced 2 billion board feet more lumber in 2018 than it did in 2016, offsetting the 1.4 billion board feet decline in Canadian imports.