Lumber Demand Increases in U.S. but Prices Rise

December 3rd, 2012 by DWM Magazine

The improved U.S. housing market in the past four months has resulted in both higher lumber production in the U.S. and an increased importation of lumber, according to a report from Wood Resource Quarterly. As a result, lumber prices have gone up by more than 30 percent from last year. However, sawlog prices have remained unchanged, according to the report.

The improved housing market has been good news for many sawmills in North America as lumber production has been higher throughout the continent, with an increase of 7.3percent in August year-over-year in the U.S., and 6.3 percent in Canada.

The U.S. Northwest and the province of Quebec have been the regions with the biggest increases in production. Sawmills in Quebec have really ramped up production, with output in August being 30 percent higher than in August last year, the report states.

“It is also interesting to note that for the first time in two years, sawmills in the Western U.S. produced as much lumber as the mills in the U.S. South in August. Typically production levels are higher in the U.S. South than in the West.”

The improved U.S. housing market has resulted not only in higher domestic lumber production, but also in an increase in the importation of lumber.

The higher lumber demand has pushed lumber prices substantially upward this fall. In November, Southern pine prices were 48 percent higher year-over-year, while Western hemlock prices were up 32 percent over the same period, according to Random Lengths.

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