Dealers who responded to this week’s Builder Activity Survey continue to report that their sales volumes are close to seasonal norms. Participants along the Gulf Coast, who are dealing with flooding rains and in the West where wildfires continue to burn, are somewhat less enthusiastic than participants in other areas of the country. The increase in the sales of existing homes in August, reported this week, sparked dealers’ hopes for increased near-term repair and remodeling contractor opportunities. Builders remain very concerned about the high cost of lumber and building materials but noted that buyers remain extremely interested and the current, near historic, low interest rates makes them eager to get a piece of the “American Dream.” As a result, several builders have taken orders and are preparing to commence construction on new homes. The lumber and panel markets have, or are in the process of, running out of energy. A price correction that started last week in the Southern Pine lumber market has since spread to Eastern and Western SPF, as well as Southern Pine Rated Sheathing. In the other species and panel products prices are firm to a few dollars higher, but the double and triple-digit increases of the past weeks and months have come to an end. Buyer’s hopes for prices to drop as precipitously as they rose has yet to develop and at the current pace it could be a long grind lower. For lumber and panel buyers there is a growing concern about lumber mill log decks, especially in the South and West where log harvest, if allowed at all, are being limited to the outer fringes of the woods, leaving access to the large diameter logs off limits.
FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.