To help reduce supply shortages and reduce costs, the NAHB is urging Congress to open up more national forest land for timber harvesting, which in turn has spurred a debate in the state of New Hampshire. According to Jon Phelps, reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader, multiple statewide groups, including the New Hampshire Home Builders Association and New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, say more of the land in the White Mountain National Forest could be opened for timber harvesting, but environmental groups are wary.

Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, told lawmakers at a forum conducted by Republican members of the House Natural Resources Committee that federal lands produced between 10 billion and 12 billion board feet from the mid-1950s until the mid-1990s. Since then, about 1.5 billion and 3.3 billion board feet per year have been harvested.

"We must strike a more appropriate balance in how we manage our national forests," Fowke told lawmakers. "Doing so will restore the health of one of our great natural resources and offers the potential to reinvigorate the forestry industry while improving housing affordability."

The White Mountain National Forest likely won't make much of a dent in the demand for framing lumber. The forest is mostly made up of hardwood trees, while softwood is used to frame houses, said Jasen Stock, executive director of the Timberland Owners Association.

Matt Mayberry, executive director of the New Hampshire Home Builders Association, said while the harvesting won't produce much framing lumber or plywood it would still be worth pursuing.

Read More