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Front Range Lumber reviews lumber prices

Lumber prices have been on quite a roller coaster ride!

Lumber prices continue to change and unfold constantly – seems like on a weekly basis. So we’ve started providing our monthly 2-cents on the subject…

April 2022 some building material prices going down!

Framing lumber and construction lumber have dropped dramatically in price over the last few weeks. By historical numbers, lumber still remains high.

Treated lumber prices are also dropping. Meanwhile, redwood, cedar, and manufactured wood items continue to remain at their current levels or higher.

As we’ve covered before, availability remains almost more important than the price. Said differently, if it’s not available, the price question is immaterial.

All of these factors influencing building material price remain in play:

  • Trucking issues
  • Taxes on imports
  • Fuel costs,
  • Log supply
  • and on and on…

March 2022 lumber prices dropping?

Lumber and plywood/OSB prices are currently easing off a bit in mid-to-late March. At every step of the distribution chain, everyone has a theory where prices will go from here. Could this be just a pause? Could it be the beginning of prices sliding? Could it be something else?
Our best idea is that while prices may slip somewhat from their current levels, any decrease pales in perspective of the relatively high prices lumber products are at. Said differently, even if prices drop 5%, starting at $1.00, they are still $0.95!
This covers “framing lumber items” – other items: treated, redwood, cedar, pine boards and so on – there is NO such decreases occurring &/or are on the horizon. In fact, all the manufacturers of “EWP” (LVL, I-joists, rimboard, etc.) took a large 15% or more increase in mid-March.

February 2022 building material issues.

Framing lumber prices continue to increase. OSB and construction plywood prices are also increasing rapidly, worsened by extreme shortages in many items.

Fire treated is almost non-existent in supply and “regular” treated is increasing with many outages in sizes. Most wood items are at least creeping up in price.

As we’ve spoken to before, freight considerations are a major factor adding to a host of other contributing reasons. Virtually all items in shipments of hardware items we receive are increasing also bit by bit. A large price increase on LVL, wood I-joists and rimboard is imminent.

There really seems no reason to believe all the factors affecting prices are going to change enough to push pricing DOWN anytime soon.

Right now, availability of product is the real driver!

January 2022 building material prices still increasing.

Pricing on all framing lumber items are ROARING back upwards – we are nearing the record highs of mid 2021.

There’s no relief in sight as all the fundamental causes remain in play: trucking issues, COVID, log availability, duties (taxes) on Canadian lumber and on and on…

Treated, OSB and plywood items are following the same trends.

We continue to see lumber pricies increase along virtually all items and categories.

Trucking availability to move products from manufacturers to stores is very difficult and trucking rates seemingly increase in front of our eyes.

December 2021 update on lumber costs.

The lumber market bounced upward tremendously over the past week-two!

Framing lumber increased significantly across the board in late November/early December with more increases almost certain.

Why? Supply and demand. The supply side is being hammered by the same old reasons in varying proportions: freight difficulties, weather, log costs, Covid and many other reasons.

Our tried and true advice is to:
1. Watch your budgeting with “real” numbers
2. Plan ahead to avoid supply shortages
3. Be flexible in your needs to minimize price and delays

November 2021 review of lumber prices.

Lumber prices have established a relatively calm level. This is NOT to say it’s going down, most items continue to edge upwards.

We constantly see price increase notifications AND surprises! Not to pick on TREX, but they’ve officially announced an increase effective January 1, 2022 – as an example.

Our opinion is AVAILABILITY remains the key factor in our industry. There are so many shortages, delays and transportation issues – it’s really hard to stay on top of. You probably have your own story of an item or category which was hard to locate &/or held up the timing on your job.

We urge everyone to plan ahead, be flexible in your needs and not rely on “perfection”.

In addition to supply chain issues in delivery, we’re seeing significantly more damage, mistakes and incorrect items. So even after waiting, in many cases, we must try ahead despite loads of effort to avoid these issues. A case in point: we estimate more than 25% of the doors we receive are wrong or damaged.

Returning to lumber prices – in one sentence: We don’t see factors changing to influence decreases anytime soon – quite the contrary!

October 2021 review of lumber prices.

As of the middle of October, framing lumber prices edged back upwards in price – although current levels are nowhere near records highs reached earlier this year. OSB remains relatively high when compared to historical levels, but pricing is far lower than levels earlier in the year.

We continue to see price increases across a broad spectrum of products including announced increases on TREX, Simpson hangers, and metal items of all types, etc.

While framing lumber prices and OSB have decreased dramatically from highs in the Spring, most other wood items remain at prices set earlier this year. These include redwood, cedar, beetle kill, pine and cedar boards and timbers.

Freight costs are becoming an even larger portion of the cost picture with many trucking costs increased by new “adders”, “premiums” &/or additional fuel charges. With winter season looming, limited availability of trucks and higher costs will only impact costs more.

Some wood products are STILL increasing in price. These generally are items which are more “processed” than plain lumber. For example, hardwood plywoods and moldings are both in short supply with constantly increasing prices.

We continue to see many shortages in products – our standard advice is to plan (order) far ahead of your need time and be flexible in your needs to better match what’s available.Remember, many items in the industry are imported – nails, screws and bolts are great examples.

With ongoing port unloading issues, we don’t expect to see a quick resolution. In fact, we are hearing from many suppliers/manufacturers warnings of ongoing shortages with advice to plan well ahead.

September 2021 review of lumber prices.

Lumber prices over the past 30-45 days are on the move again. We cannot stress enough that ALL wood products don’t all change prices in unison.

There ARE forces that impact all categories, for example, shipping costs and poor availability drag all freight movement at this times.

We’ll briefly review building materials costs by category:
FRAMING LUMBER – went down substantially in June, July and early August. Over the first part of September, lumber prices have snuck slightly back upwards, we expect a continued nudging upward.

OSB – repeated framing lumber, lots of opinions where it goes from here, we believe that prices may dramatically drop in the late October/November period.

PLYWOODS – highly mixed bag. Construction grades are on par with OSB costs – not the “normal”. Many other types of plywoods are fast increasing and in very short supply. For example 3/4″ thickness in Baltic Birch. Expect more of the same.

CEDAR has been stable for a couple of months, there’s a lot of cedar to be sold, there seems to be some cracks in play to force pricing downwards.

REDWOOD, like other categories, is driven by availability. Running into the “winter season”, expect pricing to remain as-is but we expect increases next Spring

TREATED We believe will hover around their present levels which are far less than anytime in the last 16 months. We are thinking prices will increase in the Spring with a vengeance.

ASSORTED Many items like pine boards, for example, are holding at the same price level as in the past 3-4 months. Clear grades of all types are hard to come by.

MOULDINGS Remain very short in supply and fingerjoint items are at/near solid wood pricing. MDF mouldings are especially short, many on “allocation”.

METAL ITEMS most anything steel is up, up and away.

IMPORTS There are very large limits on the flow of imported goods. Many retailers are concerned about getting shipments in time for the Christmas season.

The building industry is not a Christmas type, but the flow of merchandise is being hampered regardless of capacity. We’re hearing the situation will be worse better better.

August 2021 building materials price update.

This pattern continued until late April /early May of 2020. Then, as the COVID Situation settled in for the long haul, the home improvement craze blasted off.

This combined with strengthening housing markets AND perhaps most importantly, COVID had a harsh impact on the supply chain. These impacts included diminished employees at the mills, outright mill closures due to outbreaks, more limited shipping.

Well, the good old law of supply and demand quickly set in.

With consumers stuck at home working on home improvement demand quickly out-paced supply and prices started to increase throughout the summer, fall and winter of 2020.

Entering 2021, everyone in the industry believed the entire story was going to be product availability and it was – until (partially) May 2021. Seemingly overnight, supply in certain categories caught up (increased) while demand fell off dramatically.

Again, COVID was the major contributor in the demand drop as the pandemic eased (and more vaccinated), consumers felt free to travel and dine out and other “diversions”. Again, supply and demand ruled the day and prices fell even quicker than their meteoric rise.

The “yeah-buts” then start when we examine the current “lumber market”. The media is painting the story that ALL lumber prices are dropping. This is certainly not true across the board (pun intended).

Overall, the supply chain is running fairly lean.

This means sooner or later wholesalers and retailers will need to step in and buy more simply to fill their shelves.

We’ll briefly review building materials costs by category:
FRAMING LUMBER really dropped, current levels are sitting at/below those before all the action started!

OSB just starting to drop, we anticipate significant downward movements.

CONSTRUCTION PLYWOODS have been lowering price levels for several in June and July – however they are now less expensive than OSB products and availability has improved dramatically.

REDWOOD has not changed lately, pricing remains up over last year, mainly due to a stock shortage, especially on better grades. Prospects for decreases anytime soon are slim.

CEDAR is well over last year’s levels with no significant decreases in sight. Although the supply side has improved there remains many other forces at work to keep prices at their levels, including tariffs on Canadian lumber, log supplies and log quality.

TREATED LUMBER has been sinking in price for several weeks, look for more decreases slowly over time and going into winter.

EWP (aka engineered wood products) has loads of issues here: high demand, shortage of specialty adhesives and basic costs of manufacturing – among others. We believe there are more price increases (yes, plural) to come. The EWP category includes glulams, LVLs and I-joists. Supplies of I-joists remain very limited. We believe there will a “new normal” regarding pricing in this category (any others).

STEEL PRODUCTS most everything in metal is up and still increasing.

PINE BOARDS supply is improving, but still not even “hand-to-mouth.”

BEETLE KILL BLUE STAIN PINE in better quality (in this product, that means a good amount of blue coloring), availability is very limited, and prices increase with every shipment we receive. We have been typically waiting 3-4 months for our orders AND then get shipped different from the order.

SIDING/TRIM while the prices are relatively stable and generally have not increased by large amounts, many items are simply not available without very long lead times.

HARDWOODS beat to a different drummer; most hardwoods are creeping up in price. Hardwood plywoods continue to be in short supply, especially Baltic birch, which is imported.

TREX (and similar) announced a 5-8% increase in August. This is unusual, but it is an indicator of increased freight costs as this is the reason named.

Freight costs have impacted most everything!

Shortage of both trucks and drivers, from what information we get, this situation will only get worse for at least 5-10 years.

We ask for your patience as all of us navigate these unforeseen times.

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