Tariffs are hurting builders here and south of the border

by Steve Randall28 Aug 2018

With rising prices and low inventories in many markets in both Canada and the US, the last thing builders need is a tougher market for materials.

But the tariffs imposed by both countries in recent months is making things hard for home builders and threatening to further weaken affordability for homebuyers.

Reuters reports that builders on Canada’s coasts are concerned that steel tariffs imposed by the Canadian government could push prices higher in the already-expensive Vancouver while protecting steel producers in central Canada.

And imports of steel are also more expensive since the trade dispute began, further pressuring builders.

“We know that not all provinces have equal access to steel, just by their geography,” Mary Van Buren, president of the Canadian Construction Association told Reuters. “That could create a shortage of steel and then secondly could lead to price escalation.”

Lumber costs create tension in US
Meanwhile, south of the border, builders and lumber producers are engaging in a war of words following the implementation of tariffs on imports of Canadian softwood.

The CEO of the National Association of Home Builders has accused US producers of acting in a similar way to the oil cartels of the 1970s.

The Vancouver Sun reports that Jerry Howard’s comments have been met with derision from the US Lumber Coalition’s executive director Zoltan van Heyningen, who says the NAHB chief’s claims are “odd”.


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