Relative softness in the market continued this week as the Upper Mid Atlantic and Northeast continued to thaw from the last two weeks of weather. News on the housing starts front and declining builder confidence numbers added to the weak sentiment. Average sales order and shipment volumes were down slightly but there was some spread between Commodity products and Specialties. 2x6, 2x10, and 2x12 dimensions took the majority of the hits in both East and West markets. 2x4 MSR trades reflected the weak housing start numbers.
Housing starts, completions and inventory are not only key indicators for our industry; they are also key overall economic indicators and deserve attention. While some geographic areas are picking up steam, we’ll need to see 1.5 million starts (annualized) nationwide before the market is deemed fully recovered.