Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Update: Framing Lumber Prices Up Year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 7/05/2017 10:06:00 AM

Here is another update on framing lumber prices. Early in 2013 lumber prices came close to the housing bubble highs - and prices are once again near the bubble highs.

The price increases in early 2013 were due to a surge in demand (more housing starts) and supply constraints (framing lumber suppliers were working to bring more capacity online).

Prices didn't increase as much early in 2014 (more supply, smaller "surge" in demand).

In 2015, even with the pickup in U.S. housing starts, prices were down year-over-year.  Note: Multifamily starts do not use as much lumber as single family starts, and there was a surge in multi-family starts.  This decline in 2015 was also probably related to weakness in China.

Prices in 2017 are up solidly year-over-year.

Lumcber PricesClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows two measures of lumber prices: 1) Framing Lumber from Random Lengths through June 2017 (via NAHB), and 2) CME framing futures.

Right now Random Lengths prices are up 14% from a year ago, and CME futures are up about 18% year-over-year.

There is a seasonal pattern for lumber prices. Prices frequently peak around May, and bottom around October or November - although there is quite a bit of seasonal variability.