Most Lumber Prices Flatten on Holiday Slowdown

As we continue to enjoy summer bliss, the calendar moves inexorably into autumn. It is usual for this time of year for most lumber prices to be soft or softening, as most large-volumes buyers (IE: large US home builders) have received the wood they need for ongoing and expected projects.

Madison's Softwood Lumber Benchark Dimension Softwood Lumber Western SPF 2x4 Price: August 2022

There is an interesting symmetry with current prices to those of two years ago; most lumber prices currently match those of late-August 2020.
This is similar to another interesting development, that the trend of lumber prices at the end of last year was almost exactly in-line with the year before. This raises the question: is 2020 the new baseline for lumber price highs and lows?
Do the price changes in 2020 indicate the new annual trend, rather than the seasonality we have all been used to for the past several decades?

Only time will tell, however all can be sure Madison’s Lumber Reporter will be there to recognize any important softwood lumber price indicators and inform the both the forest and housing industries of what to look for next.

Staying flat from the previous week, for the week ending August 19, 2022 the price of benchmark softwood lumber item Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL) was US$624 mfbm, said weekly forest products industry price guide newsletter Madison’s Lumber Reporter.
This is up by $0, or 0% from the previous week when it was $624, and is down by -$47, or -7%, from one month ago when it was $671.

There were still opportunities out there as multi-family construction in the US appeared positive of late, there just wasn’t anyone around to make the lumber sales deals.

The North American solid wood commodities market was quiet overall as hot weather put a pause on large swathes of construction, and throngs of players were away on vacation.”

— Madison’s Lumber Reporter

Western S-P-F purveyors in the United States were plunged into a lackadaisical late-summer slowdown. Sawmills maintained two- to three-week order files amid tepid demand as most players preferred to abscond to vacation spots rather than sling lumber and studs in the scorching heat.
Mills struggled to move their low-grade material at current prices.

Madison's Softwood Lumber Benchmark green and KD Construction Framing Dimension Softwood Lumber Prices: August 2022

The Western S-P-F market quieted down again, following a spurt of sales activity the previous week largely attributed to West Fraser’s curtailment announcement.
The pace of construction work in Western Canada was noticeably slower as hot weather sent workers scurrying from jobsites to vacation destinations. Producers reported ongoing challenges with log supply, lately exacerbated by rising temperatures that restricted logging and hauling in many regions.
Sawmill order files ranged between late-August and early-September.

Purveyors of green Douglas-fir items felt like someone had let the air out of the market. There was more inquiry than follow-through, as many players were hoping for another round of corrections before they would consider buying real volumes. Producers reported limited supply roughly in balance with weak demand.
Douglas fir sawmill order files were into the weeks of August 29th or September 5th.”

— Madison’s Lumber Reporter

Madison’s Benchmark Top-Six Softwood Lumber and Panel Prices: Monthly Averages

Madison's Softwood Lumber Benchark green and KD Construction Framing Dimension Softwood Lumber and Panel Prices: August 2022

Compared to the same week last year, when it was US$390 mfbm, the price of Western Spruce-Pine-Fir 2×4 #2&Btr KD (RL) for the week ending August 19, 2022 was up by +$234, or +60%.
Compared to two years ago when it was $850, that week’s price is down by -$226, or -27%.