Lumber Price Shift Suggests a 'Bubble That Has Burst'

After record highs, wood prices are plummeting, suggesting highs were just 'temporary shocks'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2021 8:03 AM CDT
Updated Jun 20, 2021 7:45 AM CDT
After Hitting Record Highs, Lumber Prices Are Falling Fast
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/dpproductions)

Chris Skidmore's fence is finally getting built. Per KTVB, the homeowner in Boise, Idaho, had planned one for his yard back in March, but due to a lumber shortage and resulting higher prices, he was soon informed the company he'd hired had run out of wood. Now, his project is back on the schedule for July as "lumber prices are falling back to earth," reports the Wall Street Journal. After a two-week decline, futures for July delivery ended Tuesday at $1,009.90 per thousand board feet—a 41% drop from the record of $1,711.20 in early May. Cash lumber prices are also falling. (Floor Daily notes these prices apply to softwoods, not the harder woods used for flooring.) The initial highs had come about as the economy started to reopen and homebuilders began a "frenzied" buying spree, jamming up the supply chain, but the Journal notes it now appears "a bubble ... has burst," perhaps indicating the record highs were just "temporary shocks," not the start of a "period of runaway inflation."

The bounce back of supply and accompanying low prices may signal a return to normalcy within the homebuilding industry, where the chaos has had an effect on homebuilder confidence: Fox Business notes that, per a new report from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, the high costs and shortages in the supply chain led to that confidence falling in June to its lowest level since August of last year, though there are still signs of "strong demand" in the housing market. Kyle Little, COO of the New York-based Sherwood Lumber, notes the recent price plummet isn't terribly surprising. "When you have over a 400% price move in about a 15-month period of time, the volatility involved with that will lead to price adjustments like we are experiencing right now," he says. (Read more wood stories.)

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