This weakening in price is a result of the mixed messages being sent by the housing market (see figure below). Housing start numbers, for instance, drove prices higher in the final four months of 2012, and when the numbers remained respectable throughout the first quarter of 2013, lumber prices continued to climb. In April, the number of starts dropped precipitously (back to October/November 2012 levels), and lumber prices peaked. Since the number of starts has been up and down throughout the summer, prices have been up and down as well.
Still, composite weighted lumber price is higher in 2013 than in all previous years Forest2Market has been tracking lumber prices (see figure below). During the third week of August 2013, composite price is at $358 per MBF, 14% higher than it was a year ago. Average lumber price year-to-date is $89 per MBF higher than it was in 2012, an increase of 30%.
The above figure summarizes pricing data gathered for Forest2Market’s weekly lumber market report, Mill2Market. For this market report, Forest2Market aggregates sales order data submitted directly by report subscribers. This figure charts weekly sales order prices from January 2011 through the year to date 2013 and compares sales orders data, FOB Mill on a volume weighted $/MBF basis. The prices in the figure are composite prices; they include all kiln dried dimension lumber, timbers and boards.