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I’ve been building homes for 40 years, and here’s what has to change if the U.S. wants more starter homes

Jerry Konter is the founder and president of Konter Quality Homes in Savannah, Ga., and the chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Finding and enacting solutions to these housing challenges is critical to fulfilling the housing needs of all Americans. It will require policy makers at all levels of government to make housing a top priority.

Since the start of the pandemic lumber prices are up nearly 75% and currently stand above $600 per thousand board feet even after posting significant drops in recent weeks.

While this has hit first-time home buyers particularly hard, it doesn’t tell the full story. The 25-year historic, pre-pandemic average price of lumber (1995-2019) was $343 per thousand board feet. Lumber prices were $1,500 per thousand board feet last May and have been trading above the once unthinkable $1,000 mark for much of the past year.

As a result, on average, since the spring of 2020, lumber prices have added $14,300 to the price of a typical single-family home.

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