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As usual, seeing things completely through a political - bias doesn't not address the issue.

Posted: May 10th, 2021 - 6:33 am In Reply to: Biden plan calls for 50 Billion investment - In semi-conductors

Lumber has doubled in price because mills have not been able to increase production as much as they have in years past. This is primarily because like ALL industries they are having a hard time hiring NEW employees. The main two reasons are the enhanced unemployment benefits from the various stimulus and second the inability for 50% of potential new employees to pass a drug test.

The other main supply restriction is the destruction of Lodgepole Pine in BC & AB by the Mountain Pine beetle over the last fifteen years. This has caused sawmills to shut down in BC & AB. Production in Canada is down out west. In the east it is up slightly.
These same mills have been buying up sawmills in the southern US for the last 10+ years.

The other main factor affecting price is that there has been a huge increase in demand in the last 12 months. First, when everyone was home due to covid every yahoo decide to do a honey do project on their house. They could not go anywhere, so they built a deck, an addition, a shed, a barn. In places like CT & NJ they are putting sheds in their back yard and turning them into home offices.

Then the exodus from the big cities took over and suddenly people wanted a NEW single family stand alone home instead of an apartment or condo. They wanted some space to walk the dog, the kid, etc. Housing starts in March were the highest they have been since 2006(1.7 million). The main factor in that is the huge increase in single family. Multi family is down or flat. In addition, Canadian housing starts are at RECORD highs of 330K.

Interest rates are at or very close to record lows. In most big cites, you move out to the suburbs to escape BLM riots and have a mortgage payment for the same as your rent. If you moved to the country, your payment was cheaper than your rent in town. Many 30 somethings who had held off buying their first home and chose to live in town changed their mind in the last year.

Also, there is a record amount of European Spruce dimension lumber coming into the US. Primarily on the east coast. Euro has become the predominate White wood species in the Carolinas. This has increased the supply coming into the US.

There are about a dozen production increases planned on the books right now including 3-4 brand new sawmills being built in the AL & MS.
North American production is slowly shifting south. Southern Yellow Pine is the least expensive wood resource in the world. Plus these are all nonunion mills.

The main reason OSB has decreased just recently is that a glue manufacturer in Texas lost a couple weeks of production during the severe winter storm in February. This glue is used by almost every manufacturer of OSB, I-joists, LVL, Finger Joint Long lenths(22-40’) in the USA. Several mills claimed Force Majour and canceled contracts with everyone EXCEPT the Big Boxes.

Keep in mind, lumber has gone up over 300% from its low of April 2020. However, EVERY construction component has also gone up a minimum of 30%. Copper Romex wire has doubled. Steel has increased by 30-45% and some truss plates are now on allocation. nails & screws are up. Roofing is up. Composite decking is up. Drywall is on allocation. Plywood has tripled in price.


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