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Biggest Shortage for Builders Isn’t Lumber – It’s Appliances

19 out of 20 builders face an appliance shortage, with 57% calling it a “serious shortage.” Lumber products hold the 2, 3 and 4 spots, with windows and doors at No. 5.

WASHINGTON – A May survey of builders finds frustration as 19 out of 20 (95%) say they’re having trouble buying appliances. Of that 95%, 6 out of 10 (57%) says it’s a “serious shortage.”

In a report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), lumber products top the list of shortages after appliances, holding the next three spots: 94% for framing lumber (47% say serious shortage), 92% for oriented strand board (54% say serious), and 90% for plywood (48% say serious).

In most cases, the problem was caused by a disruption in the supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tariffs on Canadian lumber, pandemic slowdowns in the U.S. lumber industry and higher demand from homeowners opting to remodel dinged the lumber industry.

For appliances, a key reason for the shortage is a computer chip, which most now require.

Builders’ top shortages reported in May

  1. Appliances: 95% (38% “serious shortages”)
  2. Framing lumber: 94% (47% serious)
  3. Oriented strand board (OSB): 92% (54% serious)
  4. Plywood: 90% (48% serious)
  5. Windows and doors: 87% (38% serious)
  6. Trusses: 78% (27% serious)
  7. Copper wiring: 77% (23% serious)
  8. Plumbing fixtures and fittings: 75% (19% serious)
  9. Vinyl siding: 74% (23% serious)
  10. Millwork: 72% (13% serious)
  11. Gypsum wallboard (13% serious)
  12. Steel (lightweight for framing): 70% (12% serious)
  13. HVAC equipment: 68% (13% serious)
  14. Hardwood flooring: 67% (12% serious)
  15. Roofing materials: 66% (13% serious)
  16. Cabinets: 63% (10% serious)
  17. Structural insulated panels: 62% (14% serious)
  18. Insulation material: 62% (14% serious)
  19. Steel beams: 57% (9% serious)
  20. Clay brick: 51% (12% serious)

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