According to an article linked here, the price of lumber has increased in the United States due to several factors that are happening as you read this. The article cites three specific issues that are causing the increased prices througout the industry: the continued housing boom, wildfires in the northwest, and the new lumber tarrifs.
The housing market in the US has been in constant growth mode since bottoming out in 2009. The demand for quality lumber continues to increase even though supplies have not increased with the demand. As the housing market continues to rebound, there is simply not enough building grade lumber on the market to handle the increased demand of new housing.
Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest this past winter have tightened supplies of US grown lumber in the western United States. With the tariffs on Canadian lumber coming into the United States, and the reduction of logs available domestically, prices have increased quickly for several different wood types.
In our opinion, the new tarrifs landed at the exact wrong time. While the tariffs did stop cheaper, imported logs from flooding the marketplace, it also slowed down production from existing suppliers. Existing sawmills can no longer find enough quality logs to keep up with the demand for lumber.
If you have followed our blog, then you know that trucking issues are also to blame for slowing down the time between harvesting logs and cutting logs into lumber. With the new ELD's (Electronic Logging Devices), and a shortage of truckers nationwide, it is also taking longer for finished lumber to get from the mill to the store for purchase.
All of these factors will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future and there is no pricing relief in sight. The new tariffs have caused inflation on logs which has in turn caused the price of lumber and shavings to go up substantially. Add in the shortage of truck drivers and you can see why this has been a rough winter for price increases within the lumber industry in the United States.
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