Lumber prices have been on a roller-coaster ride over the past two years and reached to an all-time high price of $1,515 per thousand board feet in the week ending May 21, 2021, as reported by Random Lengths. However, despite higher lumber prices and ongoing supply-chain issues, wood framing remains the most dominant construction method for single-family homes in the U.S. per the 2021 data.
According to NAHB analysis of 2021 Census Bureau data, for 2021 completions, 92% of new homes were wood-framed, another 7% were concrete-framed homes, and less than half a percent was steel-framed.
On a count basis, there were 895,000 wood-framed homes completed in 2021. This was an 8% gain over the 2020 total. As noted above, steel-framed homes are relatively uncommon, with a total of just 3,000 housing completions in 2021, which was 40% less than the 2019 completions sum of 5,000.
Concrete-framed homes experienced the second straight decline in 2021, after a 13% decrease in 2020. In 2021, the total decreased 5% from 75,000 completions in 2020 to 71,000. However, the gains over the last 10 years are striking. From 2011 to 2021, the concrete-framed market share increased from 4% to 7%.
Non-wood based framing methods are primarily concentrated in the South due to residential resiliency requirements. In 2021, concrete-framed homes made up 13% of all homes completed in the South. Approximately two-thirds of steel framed homes completed in 2021 were located in the South, with another one-third in the West.