US retailers are stocking up for what they hope will be an outstanding holiday season. This despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment numbers continue to edge higher. And, as of yet, no additional economic stimulus or increased unemployment benefits coming from Congress.
Wood pellet plants have long relied on sawmill residue as their source of fiber. However, recent mill closures due to weak lumber prices and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with pests and wildfires have all negatively impacted pellet plants ability to source from their typical fiber sources.
Despite recent declines from record breaking high levels, forest product market experts anticipate prices for lumber and panels will remain strong throughout North America for the next several years. The demand for building products will be led by both new construction and home renovation as tight inventory and aging existing homes, along with low interest rates and untapped home equity.
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) /Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) indicates that builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes advanced 2-points in October, to a new all-time high reading of 85.
Dealers responding to FEA’s Weekly Order Survey continue to report their sales to builders as slow but steady. The morning chill in the air has builders working diligently to get projects under roof and ready for interior work.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is reporting that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to afford purchasing a home has steadily declined.
There has been a surge in do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects since the start of the pandemic. With extra time on their hands and savings destined for vacations and trips that are now on hold, homeowners have used that time and money to take on projects to adapt their homes to their new lifestyles.
Mortgages in active forbearance dropped nearly 20% last week.
Dealers who responded to FEA’s Weekly Order Survey continue to take a highly regionalized view of their markets. Again, this week, some builders and their supporting dealers are reporting flat to a modest uptick in sales activity.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, and the unemployment rate declined by -0.5% to 7.9%. Which represents 12.6 million Americans without employment.