US Lumber Prices Post Largest Weekly Decline as Buyers Retreat

It appears that the price of lumber may have already surpassed its peak, after last week’s record losses extended into Monday, as an increased number of buyers hold off on purchases despite a jump in sawmill output.

On Friday, lumber futures dropped nearly 6% to around $1,059 per thousand board feet, following an 18% decline for the week— the sharpest drop since 1986. Come Monday, the loses continued on their downward spiral, falling to just above $995 per thousand board feet. Since the record-breaking peak at the beginning of May, lumber futures have slid by more than 40%, as buyers are avoiding the lumber market’s astronomical prices.

Over the past year, lumber prices have catapulted into the exosphere, causing rippling affects for home builders, renovators, and buyers alike. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has revealed that the surge in lumber prices have tacked on an additional $36,000 to the price of a new single-family home.

Indeed, with such elevated lumber prices, an increased number of consumers are finding themselves priced out of the housing market entirely. According to the latest University of Michigan economic sentiment survey, the share of respondents reporting elevated housing prices surged to a record-high in June, while the number of consumers saying it’s an ideal time to purchase a home crumbled.

In the meantime, US lumber production has finally caught up to the unprecedented demand, increasing by 5% over the past year, according to Domain Timber Advisors LLC. Although this has likely brought some relief to markets besieged by sky-high prices and supply shortages, the record divergence between surging homebuilder confidence and collapsing homebuyer confidence (both of which are due to historically-high lumber prices) will ultimately determine the next direction for the market.

Information for this briefing was found via the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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