Despite falling prices for lumber and gypsum, prices paid for construction inputs grew 1.5 percent last month, based on the latest, not seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The National Association of Home Builders' analysis finds that price growth is faster in 2019 so far than during the same period in 2018, and that prices hit a six-month high. NAHB says that the average first quarter increase since 2000 is 1.1 percent; from 2016 to 2019, prices ticked up 0.0 percent, 0.7 percent, 1.9 percent, and 2.3 percent in that time, respectively.
Consistent with weekly data published by Random Lengths, the PPI report shows that the pace of softwood lumber price increases has recently attenuated. After climbing 2.3 percent in February, prices paid for softwood lumber rose a modest 0.5 percent in March.
Over the past year, the PPI for softwood lumber has declined 13.3 percent. Although the PPI does not include prices paid for imports, Canadian lumber imports indirectly affect the price of domestic softwood lumber (as we have seen with the 20 percent duties currently levied on Canadian softwood lumber).